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April 15, 2010
Teenage girl sitting alone and thinking

I am a homeschooled teenager involved in several of the local public high school’s programs–track, math, etc. I have a tremendous opportunity to witness to my unbelieving peers. Last year, I tried many times to witness to my teammates, but their hearts are so hard. They became angry, or didn’t listen, or took it all at a purely intellectual level. I can’t blame them, though. Oftentimes, I find that my own fear, pride, and stubbornness prevent me from speaking to them when I should. I pray for them often, but nothing I say to them nor how I try to stand apart from the spirit of the world seems to affect them. I am thinking that me being a “weird homeschooler” (at least in their eyes) is tainting their view of me.

How can I effectively witness to my non-Christian peers, especially when they have such alien worldviews and anti-Christian attitudes?

Michael answers:

There are two ways to witness. The first is the most direct and is similar to what a street evangelist would do. You get right to the point, challenging them to repent toward God and believe the gospel. You expect most of them to reject your message but you keep fishing, knowing that out of the hundreds there may be one who will be prepared by the Holy Spirit to believe your message. This is not normally the approach you take with co-workers, fellow students, next door neighbors, or family members. If you have the time, the most effective method of reaching someone for Christ is to:

1. Treat everyone you meet as if they are Christian brothers and sisters who are dear to you. In short, love them as they have never been loved.

2. Be continually joyful. Everyone is attracted to joy and no one will fault you for it. They will want what you have.

3. Be successful. Be the best at whatever you do. Everyone admires success and sincere effort. They will respect you for it.

4. Be helpful. Infuse something good into the lives of everyone you meet. Make them feel better about themselves in a clean and pure way.

5. Be generous. When others see you giving, they will recognize God in it.

6. Be gracious and cheerful in your righteousness. Don’t be prudish and standoffish in your convictions. When you decline to participate in sin, don’t do so in a way that says “I am better that you, and you are a dog.”

7. Be open. People are scared of the unknown. Let people get to know you and see that you don’t bite and you don’t have any secrets.

8. Don’t do religious things to be seen of men. Let your righteousness be purity of heart and intention.

9. Speak of God and Jesus occasionally when it is spontaneously true. For instance, you might say, “Isn’t it a beautiful day God has made?” or “God has blessed me with good health.” On occasion you might say something like, “If it were not for Jesus Christ, I would be on my way to hell.”

10. Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in knowing who is ready to receive the message. In time someone will open up to you and ask a question like, “Why are you always happy?” or “Why don’t you XXXX?” Answer then honestly, telling them of your commitment to Christ and of your conversion. When the moment seems right tell them the gospel story in detail. Win just one person and it is all worth it.

Don’t think in terms of impacting the entire school. Just one needy soul is enough. And when you have one convert, it becomes much easier to impress others with Christ.


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10 comments on “Witnessing”

  1. Michael-
    I really enjoyed reading your answer to this question. I am a homeschooling mom of four. I found it helpful in also dealing with believers who are not living as disciples. We live in a country where homeschooling is almost unheard of and even those who claim to love the LORD look at us with contempt and scorn that we could live so differently. It is a wise piece of advice you give here in number 6 to not be prudish and standoffish but rather gracious and cheerful in your righteousness and very different choices than those around you. Sometimes, I have acted this way or at least come across this way without even intending. I think graciousness and cheerfulness demonstrate that you really do BELIEVE in your convictions and that they do yield fruit of the Holy Spirit.


  2. Thank you SO MUCH for this article. I have always felt troubled about witnessing because sometimes I'm just not sure how. I was thinking more along the lines of outright straight to the point type witnessing when I got discouraged - what I mean is I don't feel I tell enough people the magnitude of what Christ has done for me. But the subtle approach, such as emitting the light of Christ in my life, is definitely what I do (though never enough!). I guess I didn't really realize that it is witnessing since it is not an outright statement "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." Of course I will learn to be more direct when necessary and to not fear, but this article really encourages me to persevere and continue in both of these approaches of witnessing. Thank you for your ministry in so many ways, and may God bless your family!

  3. I do appreciate your answer as well. I am a man who still struggles with being bold and speaking to people very much at all, although God has been helping me tremendously in that area of late through His grace. I thank you for showing that not all witnessing isn't so direct but in living your testimony. I have a great desire to do so much for the Lord but find my own backwardness getting in the way and I know that one day through Christ I will overcome but this article is encouraging now. Thank you and you and your ministry will be in my prayers and I hope I will be in yours.

  4. I've worked on many construction jobsites and have always stuck to the 10 points above. Those guys are rough and tough, but after some time even the most macho man will ask questions and be softened in his heart.

  5. I really enjoyed watching this video--I've wondered about Judas from time to time. Thanks for clearing that up. Me and my 2 kids (ages 3 and 4) had a good time learning and watching you cut up the fish! The littlest one, when the video was over, said, "Mommy...that was Mr. McGregor!" I guess your hat and beard reminded my son of the illustrations in our favorite Beatrix Potter book!

  6. Thanks for that valuable insight. Often it angers me when people force humanistic points of view upon God himself and his Son Jesus. I think these are the two beings that general rules of speech and action do not apply.

  7. Gal 1:2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

    Here is an example of a city that had multiple churches.

    Rom 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

    1Co 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

    Col 4:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

    Phm 1:2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:

    These are specific churches meeting in houses. Just as the scriptures clearly state. It may have been logistics, shorter travel distance. It may have been persecution, underground churches. It may simply boil down to customs as to why there were several small groups meeting in houses as independent churches.

    The scriptures teach, just as you said, that when you are saved you are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. There is a day coming that we will all be called out together to gather as one great congregation. But until that time we are to assemble together here on earth in local congregations. When we meet on the Lord's Day, we are a picture of what will happen at the rapture. We are called out from the world as Born Again Baptized (water) Believers. Just as one day we will be called by a trumpet and a shout out of this world as Born Again Baptized (Holy Spirit) Believers.

    But to be sure, God does recognize individual churches in cities as the scriptures above indicate.

  8. Michael you are right about loving people to Jesus. But most of the time we don't have lot's of time to spend doing that. We have to use the Ten Commandments to convict them of their sin, we have to defend the Bible, and we have to show a true caring spirit that they might go off into eternity in hell without the cleansing blood of Jesus. I use Way of the Master training to help me have confidence in knowing how to witness and it has helped so much. May God bless you and your ministry.

  9. Thanks for your article and ministry. I have been witnessing on the internet trying to get bible truth out to whoever will listen. I wrote a detailed account of Hell and of the afterlife and how to avoid going there through the gospel, no holds barred. The topic was "Does hell exist?" I consider myself kind of rough around the edges but kind and loving enough to give them the gospel truth. They want to crucify me, they are foaming at the mouth that I would presume to know the truth. As my wife says, "It's bad out there." I guess it is par for the course. I will not give a watered down message. I kind of feel bad, but at the same time I know they are rejecting the message more than they are me (I might be wrong) The Bible is true when it says that Christ's followers can expect to receive the same treatment as he did. Be encouraged that our reward awaits us, continue to hope for better things.

    God Bless