In the last five blog posts, we have reviewed why evangelism is important to God, and how as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to share His message with others. Today, we will wrap up our series on evangelism by understanding problems that may arise when witnessing. In my own study regarding this topic, I have found there to be distinct barriers in which we will need to be aware and ask God to help us overcome while we share the good news. Let's break them down below:
In my opinion, the most difficult barriers to overcome are the hindrances that emerge from our own personal lives. While other barriers surface as we are engaged in sharing the gospel, personal-related obstacles can keep us from sharing Jesus message altogether. We can be consumed with fear (the fear of rejection, the fear of acceptance, the fear of forcing views on others, etc.) and we can be hindered by the ability to find time for others, apathy, and feelings of inadequacy or lack of knowledge. To overcome personal barriers, we must pray for God's direction in dealing with each of them. We must have faith in God to change our hearts and give us what we need to get the job done. I urge you, whatever your personal hindrance that keeps you from witnessing, to identify it, pray about it and find scriptural promises to claim as your own while standing against it in Jesus name. For example, if you are faced with the fear of rejection, hold onto Psalm 27:1, "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"
(Note: I find that apathy remains the most concerning personal obstacle for Christians. Simply put, some believers feel that it is not their job to witness. It is a personal barrier that makes us feel we don't need to make evanglism a priority. Our attitude seems to be that it is nice when people come to Christ, but it is not the end of the world when they don't. It is a lack of compassion. Please pray that God gives us His eyes and His heart to see the lost as Jesus does. Pray that we do not let insensitivity rule over us. We must love one another. Remember that!)
What do you do when you are attemting to share the gospel and something happens to arrest the attention of your audience? Interruptions can come in any number of ways. The important thing to always remember when it comes to witnessing - - expect distractions to happen. No matter what happens, we must be persistent and avoid being rattled by the happenings that can distract us from our message. Stick to the plan.
Objections & Questions from Your Audience
There is no getting around it. The gospel is confrontational. When people hear the gospel, they may raise questions or voice concerns and objections as they come to grips with its demands. In Matthew 10:19-20, Jesus promises that persons faced with such demands will be guided by the Holy Spirit in what to say or do next. Trust God in His ability to guide you through conversations that question His message. In fact, view questions as a positive. In general, people voice objections and raise questions only when they are listening, interested and involved in a conversation. Also, questions can carry a personal benefit fo you to stimulate your spiritual growth. Handle them appropriately and as they arise. Always remember that you are in a discussion - not a debate. You are not trying to win an argument, you have come to share Christ. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
Keep your conversation focused on the relationship between a person and God - not a religious debate regarding denominational rituals, etc. Lastly, don't be afraid to admit that you are not an expert on theology. If you don't know the answer to a question, acknowledge it and tell the person you will try to get an answer. Most people will appreciate that you don't claim to know everything except to be a "real" person just like them. Also, the opportunity will allow you to meet again after your researched their inquiry. That said, make sure you still finish walking through the rest of the Romans Road and the plan of salvation, if possible.
Many Christians dread witnessing because they fear people who may react in a harsh manner. Although these responses are generally rare, what should you do if your audience responds nasty? My advise is to always show courtesy and warmth. God's love (not a person's response) should determine how we are to respond to others. If the person you are witnessing to responds in hostility, thank them for their time and offer your services and those of your church if they should ever have a need. Nothing changes hostility like love expressed in meeting needs. Because of this, some people who express open hostility toward the gospel can become responsive as time passes. Graciously exit but continue to pray for the person. Your gesture to share may allow the Holy Spirit to work in them for a later time. Trust that God is in control.
In conclusion, I would like to remind all DW's to trust that the Lord is faithful. He will supply you with whatever is necessary to enable you to share the gospel and spread His message. Believe that you can be an effective witness for Jesus Christ! Nothing in this world is greater than the One who is in you. (See 1 John 4:4)
I love you, gals! Go into all the world and preach the good news! Jesus is worth it! Share Him with others!
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