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?
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.