If there is one word that seems to send fear (or often guilt) into the heart of a follower of Jesus it is that one word: witness.
I used to wonder why more Christians didn't share their faith. These days I have shifted that question to myslef. Why do I not share what I believe more often?
I just finished a book by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron called "Thanks A Million".
In this book, Ray and Kirk share the adventures they have sharing their faith using a method that is called "The Way Of The Master", along with tracts that they hand out. Now our church has gone through "The Way Of The Master" series and I have to say I learned a lot about sharing my faith. Ray and Kirk have a lot of critcs when it comes to what they do, but I wonder if anyone else is spreading the gospel on such a consistent basis?
Paul said that we are to take the gospel to those who need to hear it.
Romans 10:12 "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"
We must take the gospel to the lost...this is not for the "professionals". This is for all of us who call ourselves beleivers.
If I have any criticism of the book, it is that they don't seem to "close the deal" very often when they let people know they need the Lord. In other words they don't ask them if they want to repent and ask the Lord into their life. In their defense, they beleive if someone really wants to know the Lord after hearing that they are on their way to hell and that Jesus has paid the price so they can have a relationship with God, be forgiven and have eternal life, that the person will not need any prodding, but will be moved to do this themselves. Some in the book did just that.
Others might be critical because they seem to lead people to faith in Jesus, but don't disciple them. I beleive this is a valid point, not just in regards to Ray and Kirk, but for the Western Church as a whole. Remember what Jesus said in the great commission:
Matthew 28:18-20: "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
One of the ways that the the church has dropped the ball is in the area of discipleship. I stand just as guilty as the next beleiver in this area and it is something we plan on correcting in our church very quickly.
To be fair to Ray and Kirk, this was a book on witnessing, not on discipleship. They may have a disicpleship program in place that I am not aware of.
Myself, I beleive the best way to share our faith is to build relationships with those who don't know Jesus and then speak the gospel into their lives. However, this is not always possible. Jesus did not wait until he developed a friendship with every person he came into contact with. Can you imagine standing before God and explaining to God that we did not share our faith more because we did not have more friends? Sounds kinda lame doesn't it?
I have been motivated and convicted by the testimony of this book. So much so, that I took some tracts along with a witnessing card I printed on my computer and began to pass them out yesterday. I left them at various places that I went to all day, and have decided that I would not go anywhere that I will not leave a tract and a card. The tract explains the gospel message and the card gives a phone number that they can contact. I had to go to the hospital three times yesterday to visit someone and left one in the waiting room each time. Each time I went back, the card was gone...who got it...did it do any good...only God knows the answer to that, but I don't beleive it did any harm.
We have a local coffe house here called "The Brick". I'm thinking about going down there to share the gospel next week when they have their "open mic" night. Pray for me.
And to Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, thanks a million for what you do for the sake of the gospel.