Ever noticed that you can say the right thing the wrong way? When this happens your witnessing opportunity can go haywire--your incorrect attitude can create a huge roadblock. Here are some pointers to help you engage in fruitful evangelism.
1. Do your homework. Anticipate the different types of questions your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors will have when witnessing opportunities arise. Not everyone's questions will be the same.
Try to think about every person in your sphere of influence and what sorts of issues they are struggling with. What life experiences have shaped their view of life? What kinds of struggles do they experience in their jobs?
Truth expressed in a relevant manner is the key to meeting an individual's needs.
2. Learn to listen. We must genuinely attempt to understand what the person is saying and what his perspective is. As you listen, ask yourself, "Is this the real issue, or is this merely a symptom of something deeper?" Remember to keep an open ear to the Lord. Let Him speak to you about the person you are talking to.
3. Use questions wisely. Ask questions of the person in an attempt to answer his questions. Just make sure you ask the right questions in the right way. This will often allow an individual to see the answers to his own questions.
Jesus used this form of evangelism when the Pharisees questioned Him about the origin of His authority (see Matt. 21:23-27). He responded by asking them where John the Baptist's authority came from--heaven or Earth? When the Pharisees saw their predicament, they answered that they did not know.
The point of using questions in evangelism is for the other party to see the inadequacy of their worldview and a need for change, not just in their philosophy but also in their experience.
4. Embrace humility. Don't come across as a know-it-all. Humbly admit that there are some questions you just don't know the answers to. But always offer to try to find the answers.
5. Don't pressure people. Jesus called us to make disciples, not decisions. Don't pressure a person who has not fully considered the cost of discipleship. This results in a premature step.
6. Trust God at all times. Many disastrous results could be avoided by simply following this rule of thumb. Remember that Jesus did not pressure the rich young ruler to follow Him (see Luke 18:18-23). Jesus presented the truth, which included what I call "the sacrificial demands" of the gospel in a conviction-filled yet pressure-free environment.
Trust in God's power, not yours. We often forget that rational discussion alone will never convert a human heart or mind.Remember, there are spiritual barriers as well that attempt to inhibit the gospel's work, resulting in spiritual, not intellectual, blindness (see 2 Cor. 4:4).
Logic and rationale can lead a person to the cross but never through the cross. Only God can do that.
But He does it graciously, and He chooses human vessels to use in this awesome process called evangelism. That's why prayer and evangelism must go hand in hand.