Summary: Practical ways we can witness for Christ
Sharing our church and our faith with others
Scripture Reading: Psalm 126
Most of us want to let others know about our church, and we’d even like to be able to tell people about our faith in Christ…yet we’re hesitant, reluctant. We’re afraid of how they might react, afraid we might do a poor job, afraid that we might look like we’re members of some cult. So how do we communicate on a spiritual level?
First of all, go in the power of the Holy Spirit. If we really believe that God empowers us, that He uses us, in spite of our limitations, even when we don’t have all the “right words”, then we can relax. We’re simply His instruments. The Holy Spirit draws people to Himself using our witness. We don’t do the saving—God does. The power of God behind us is greater than the task before us.
Let the spiritual needs of others cause us to overcome our fear. Are you afraid they’ll reject you or reject Christ? If you saw someone driving towards a bridge that was unsafe, you’d surely warn them regardless of whether they thought you were a nut or not!
Next, pray for opportunities. You’ll get them; then take them! You might be surprised—a co-worker might ask your opinion about some tragedy in the news, some ethical dilemma in government, something a religious leader has said, and you’ve being handed a chance to respond with your faith position, your spiritual insight. Someone might say, “Hey—you go to church—what do you think of this?”
How do we get things started? How can we initiate a spiritual conversation?
wAsk some simple questions, like:
Ø What’s your church background?
Ø Do you actively attend a church?
Ø Why do you think most people don’t attend church?
Ø If you were to look for a church to attend, what kind of things would you look for?
Ø Do you ever think about spiritual things?
Ø What do you think a real Christian is?
Ø What do you think happens after death?
Ø How do you think people get to heaven?
If your friends, neighbors, co-workers say they don’t actively attend a church (they may be inactive members elsewhere), causally say something like: “Hey, I’d love to see you visit my church some time. I go to Cliftondale Congregational—we’re a real friendly bunch and I think you’d feel right at home there.” Then give them a copy of our promotional brochure. That’s it. If they don’t come, invite them to special/seasonal events or to an informal small group like the men’s breakfast or the women’s Bible study.
Dos & Don’ts:
Ø Don’t use fancy Bible terms (theological language)—keep it simple!
Ø Don’t be so tactful that you have no contact! You’re not in the silent service.
Ø Love people and spend time with them, so you’ll understand what they’re thinking, so you’ll know where they’re coming from. As you develop relationships, you gain the right to talk to people on a deeper, spiritual level. If you can talk politics, you should be able to talk church.
Ø Be yourself—let people see the real you. You don’t have to wear a facade to be a Christian.
Ø Know what you believe, and why. Have a working knowledge of the Bible.
Ø Don’t argue. You can win an argument and lose a friend.
Ø Be honest--if you don’t know the answer to a question, say so, then see your Pastor who can help you prepare a response. This gives you an opportunity to follow-up on your conversation.
Ø Tell people how you feel. If you’re concerned about what they’ll think, say so: “I’m afraid you’ll think I’m a fanatic for saying this, but I think it’s really important.”
Ø Listen to what they have to say—their views, opinions, questions and doubts.
Ø When church visitors show up, focus on them, greet them, and learn their names. Don’t let them leave without feeling loved!
Ø Reinforce your witness with a church bulletin, brochure, Bible or Christian book.
Ø Avoid a “canned” sales-pitch approach. Don’t come across like a telemarketer.
Ø Be patient—you don’t know the ultimate influence of your witness. If there is no response, don’t assume you’ve failed—you may have simply led your friend closer to Christ. You’re simply a link in a chain of events that could bring this person to the Lord.
Ø Be confident—pray for the power of the Spirit and expect God to work; don’t get discouraged—trust in God and let Him be responsible for the outcome. You’re responsible to plant the seed and water it; God is responsible to produce a harvest.
What I tell people:
Finding a church that cares about you, a church where you and your family can grow spiritually is extremely important. We are a caring, community church. We think of ourselves as an extended family. Our label is “Congregational” which simply means we identify with the Pilgrims who sailed to Massachusetts to seek religious freedom. We are a Christian church that upholds the importance of the Bible, and the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who died in our place, to give us the free gift of eternal life. Our church is a place where the hurting, the depressed, the frustrated, and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance and encouragement. We are helping people develop spiritual maturity through Bible studies, support groups, Sunday School, and meaningful worship services. We’re available and we care. We’d love to have you visit us.