John thought and prayed, “God, I believe in you. I worship regularly. Why do I need to share my faith with others—or bring unbelievers to church? I’m just not comfortable with that.”
And God whispered to John, “I want you to be faithful—and you are. I also want you to be fruitful.”
“But, God,” said John, “I’m uncomfortable about faith talk with others. I feel ‘shaky.’ Why do I have to go out on a limb?”
And God said, “Because that is where the fruit is.”
Evangelism and Witnessing
Sharing faith comes in two forms, and they are very different! In fact, one of them, witnessing, is a common lifestyle—according to Scripture. The other, evangelism, is a unique spiritual gift the Holy Spirit gives to about 10 percent of all believers. Evangelism is literally supernatural. Those who have the gift are supernaturally endowed by the Holy Spirit.
The rest of us have other gifts of the Holy Spirit. All of the gifts are supernatural attributes from God. You don’t choose your gifts. As a Christian, it is important to discover, develop, and use the gifts the Holy Spirit has given to you. Every spiritual gift has a corresponding role that is common to every believer. For those who don’t have the gift of evangelism, our spiritual role is called witnessing.
Can I Get a Witness?
To witness is simply sharing what God has done in your life. You might call them your “God stories.” It goes like this: “I was there; it happened to me. I believe God helped me through it.”
The best way to nurture a witnessing lifestyle is to answer this question: “What has God done in my life?” God works in every believer’s life. Sometimes it is dramatic: “I was terribly sick. I thought I would die. I went to the doctor, and she put me in the hospital. That’s where I learned my appendix was in bad shape. I think God led me to get help at the right time, and I believe God gave me a surgeon who was a believer. I appreciated what the doctor said to me about spiritual life. I thank God for saving my life and for a Christian surgeon who helped grow my faith.”
That is a great God story!
What Is God Doing in Your Life?
So, ask yourself this question: “Has God done anything in my life this last week?” Keep asking that question. Soon, God’s blessings in your life will move from your subconscious to your daily awareness.
Then, become a good listener. Hear what those around you say about their frustrations, challenges, and fears and about their joys, opportunities, and the unexpected blessings in their lives. If they are not (yet) believers or have wandered from their active faith, watch for opportunities to share what you believe God has done in your life.
Most positive and negative issues in our lives have some degree of similarity. For example, what if your unchurched, nonpracticing neighbor was hurt in a car accident and landed in the hospital? Perhaps you have never been in a car accident, but went through a rough health issue with COVID. However, as a Christian, you prayed to get better. Perhaps other Christians at church prayed for you, your family prayed for you, and you really believe God answered those prayers. Then you have a God story to share with your neighbor.
The more you think about what God has done in your life, the more “God stories” will become part of your consciousness. The more you use your God stories to share with others, the more your stories will become part of your daily life. As that occurs, you will become more sensitive and proficient at sharing your God stories.
You see, the challenge is not that we lack God stories. It is that we don’t think consciously about them. And, when we hear from an unbeliever whose life is challenged, we aren’t always thinking about what God has done for us. If you raise that consciousness and start sharing your stories, you will grow to become what Jesus calls a “witness.”
You don’t have to memorize Bible passages to be a witness for Jesus. Think about an eyewitness in a courtroom or an observer of an accident: “I was there. It happened to me.” No one can argue with what you have experienced as a Christian. Witnessing to your faith is simply sharing your God stories.
Breaking the “Church” Barrier
Of course, even when those who are believers share what God has done in their lives with other Christians at church, it is encouraging. Those who hear our God stories are encouraged and spiritually strengthened. After all, every time someone shares, it signals that God is alive and well, working in everyday circumstances. It is another way of demonstrating the power of God. It strengthens faith!
When we share our God stories with those in our social network, we become part of a powerful force to grow God’s Kingdom. This is what Jesus was emphasizing when He said, “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem [your own area—your social network], in Judea [those you meet briefly at a ball game or on an airplane, or a waiter or waitress] and Samaria [those who are of a different culture], and to the ends of the earth.” God stories have no boundaries!
Attraction or Outreach?
When I was a pastor, I started a God story movement with the people in my church. It started in Bible class. I simply asked, “Anyone want to share what God has done in your life this week?” At first, no one responded. In time, one person shared. In a few months, it became a common lifestyle. Then it moved beyond our church to those who were not yet Christians.
Instead of preaching faith to unbelievers (who may or may not be interested), our people were simply being “active listeners.” When someone in their circle of relationships would mention a joy or challenge, our members would think of a somewhat related incident in their own lives. They would share a “God story,” giving the credit to how God worked in their lives.
These God stories were occurring regularly, all over our area—at places of work, over the phone, by email, at grocery stores, in the parking lot at Walmart. Many of those who heard the God stories from our church people would—sooner or later—ask, “What church do you attend?”
The rest, as they say, is history. Our church grew two to three times its size in worship over the next two years. Why? We started a movement, not a program. Our people didn’t participate in an activity. They learned to share what God had already done in their lives. They connected with many who were not believers in Jesus or part of a church. Our members didn’t do a program. Essentially, they became witnesses. They became those Jesus speaks about in Scripture: “And you will become my witnesses….”
So, I wrote the book The Amazing Power of God Stories. I wrote this not to sell another book or launch another program, but to ignite a movement.
So: What has God done in your life?