Have you been asked a question about your God, but you didn’t know the answer? Or maybe you’re with a group of friends and the conversation shifts to all things spiritual, and you simply aren’t sure what you believe. Evangelism doesn’t need to be a terrifying experience. Some of your comfort level comes with practice witnessing your faith. The other part of your comfort comes from being sure what you believe OR not being sure what you believe. That last sentence may be confusing, but you cannot possible know how to answer every question. Here’s why.
I have a degree in theology from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary and I am not prepared to answer every question that comes my way. The problem isn’t what I believe, but what everyone else believes. I have a very good handle on what my God has written on the pages of Scripture, but it can be difficult to explain what I believe at times because I don’t know what another person believes. No amount of study can prepare me for the a conversation with the non-practicing Baptist who went to Catholic elementary school. How should I open a conversation with the atheist gentlemen sitting next to me who is married to an Orthodox Jew. The possible combinations and variations are fascinating and dizzying.
The key isn’t being a know it all. The key is loving the person that you talk to. Don’t worry about knowing the answer to life’s struggles and problems. So often there isn’t a good direct answer. God in his infinite wisdom didn’t bother to explain to Job why he picked him as the object of Satan’s raging. Why did he allow Job’s wealth, health, and family to be taken? He doesn’t say. He just called Job to trust him.
Get used to saying that you don’t know the answer. The good news is that it gives you an excuse to talk to the person again. That is the goal anyway, not to craft the perfect witness conversation, but to build a friendship and share Jesus. “I’m sorry but I don’t know exactly what the Episcopalians believe about the Lord’s Supper, but I’ll ask my pastor what we believe.”
Become comfortable handling objections. One method for handling objections is Feel, Felt, Found. “I can see that you feel strongly about doughnuts being served before the worship service. I felt that food is essential to my morning routine as well. I have found that if I stop at Lidl on the way to church, for less than a dollar I can get the necessary calories to get me through worship.” Feel = Acknowledge the feeling of the person. Felt = He isn’t crazy. Jump into his shoes to take the focus off of him, onto you. Found = Offer a solution that redirects the conversation back to a spiritual one.
So often when a person offers an objection it’s to take the focus off of sin and onto a less threatening topic. Here is an example: Talking about my infidelity and alcoholism is not easy. Talking about how I was wronged by a grumpy church member is much simpler. Complaining for many is a past time.
When you witness, you don’t argue, you don’t try and “win”, you don’t create faith, you give the reason for the hope that you have. “I know that I’m going to heaven because Jesus died for me. I can list off sins that I’m not proud of, but on the Last Day, I won’t need to. Jesus has taken them all away. I know that he loves me. That gives me peace.” God’s blessing on your witness.Topic(s): Evangelism
Speaker(s): Fred Guldberg