How You Can Be an Effective Witness? Part V
"It was he [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."1
First, to be an effective witness for Christ we need to be real. On one occasion when I was still living and working in my homeland and returned from being overseas, I met a new member, Lynne G., who had been added to our Australian staff while I was away. When Lynne was offered a job with ACTS, her husband, Terry, told her that it would be OK but not to get involved with a bunch of religious nuts! That's what he thought about us Christians.
Soon after, Lynne overheard me telling a pushy salesperson where to get off. I had no idea she could hear me, but when she got home that night, she said to Terry, "You'll never believe my new boss. He said, 'such-and-such.' He's real." And that was the turning point of their life and began their journey to a committed Christian life. That was over three decades ago. Today, Lynne and Terry are both on the ACTS staff. Terry is the Australian director and Lynne is in charge of all the print publications for the Australian office.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you tell people where to get off as a way of witnessing, but what I am saying is that to be an effective witness for Christ it is important that people see us as real persons and not just as phony saccharine-sweet-do-gooders!
Second, be available. When I told God I was quitting witnessing because I was too afraid, but was available for him to use to share the gospel, little did I know what lay ahead. I prayed that prayer at least 25 years ago. My work in ACTS has never grown to the point that we have a large organization. We are still only very small (in fact, Joy, my wife, and I are now the only full-time workers in our U.S. office). But God has used our work to share the gospel with millions of people around the world.
We have seen over 40 million pieces of our printed gospel literature distributed, reached multiplied thousands with our former radio spots that we ran throughout Australia for a number of years, shared with many more thousands through our Australian monthly magazine, and now are reaching many thousands more every day around the world via email and the Internet. In fact, this Daily Encounter will go to almost 400,000 worldwide subscribers today. Thousands more will be reached today via Weekend Encounter and our many Internet pages.
If you tell God that you are available for Him to use you, and make a commitment to do this, He will use you too.
Third, use the gifts God has given you. For instance, it is important to realize that out of the twelve disciples personally handpicked by Jesus to launch the taking of the gospel to the world, only one clearly had the gift of personal evangelism. No it wasn't Peter. He had the gift of mass evangelism. It was Andrew who, whenever we read about him, in his own quiet way he was bringing someone to Jesus: Peter; the boy with the loaves and fishes; and the Greek enquirers.
God wants to use your gifting, too. Know what your gifts are, develop them, and offer them back to God for His use in His work here on earth. And every day remember to pray the following prayer:
"Dear God, I am available again today. Please make me usable and use me ... with the gifts You have given me ... for the furtherance of Your work on earth. And please use me today to be as Christ to whomever You bring into my life, and in some way to every life I touch. Make me a channel through whom Your love can flow, and grant that people will see Jesus in me, always in all ways. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus name, amen."
1. Ephesians 4:11Ė12 (NIV).
NOTE: To make it extremely easy to witness for Christ, we have printed very attractive and appealing Good News business witness cards. See samples online at http://actscom.com/witness_cards.php.
Try them. Youíll like them. I gave one to my barber, he looked at it, read it, and said, "My grown daughter really needs this," and thanked me for it. Iíve given scores away and have never had anyone not accept it.
Today's message is also adapted from the book, I Hate Witnessing (A Handbook for Effective Christian Communications) by yours truly. See http://tinyurl.com/33kfbk to obtain a copy.