A witness is presented by someone who has had a clear and personal
experience with God. This experience with God, for new Christians, is so real,
personal and life-changing that they want everyone else to hear about it. They
want others to experience God and come to know Him as they have.
A vital witness is the spontaneous response to a real experience. The
witness is spontaneous in that it is unplanned, flexible enough to fit the
circumstance presented, yet built on information which is well-thoughtthrough
in advance. It should not be "canned." Instead, it should match the needs of
the listener. This requires not only good listening skills but also
"readiness"--a general outline of points to cover, anecdotes to illustrate your
comments, and terminology which is understandable to the non-believer.
Let's say you meet someone who appears interested in why your life has
purpose and Who provides you with the peace and assurance of eternal life. Yet
you only have a limited time to get across your message--the gospel. You must
listen carefully to make sure what you say will be relevant to the person you
are addressing. But you also must be ready with a cogent and compelling
Consider these preparations that I think are necessary for a person to be
ready to share Christ:
RECENT--An effective and believable discussion about how Christ has impacted
your life should draw on a vital and recent encounter with God. You may explain
that your relationship with Christ began years ago, but the most effective
witness will describe a recent encounter that was life changing and vibrant. I
say this because witnessing should not be just a recounting of what God did in
the past. It should be a witness to what the God Who changed you in the past is
doing here and now in your life. Be prepared with an example of what God did
for you last week, last month or last year.
REAL--For a witness to be effective and powerful, it must be real. That is,
it must be believable, exciting (which is always true about an encounter with
God), compelling and desirable. It must have the ring of authenticity to it.
Don't describe a recent encounter with God with a sad face and a blah voice.
Those who hear it will back away or resist. Before launching into your
testimony, think about your voice and facial expression. They should be natural
PERSONAL--Witnessing is not a story about someone else's encounter with
God--it's yours. Your personal testimony should come across as warm. When your
witness comes from your heart, it is inviting. People want to hear more. Ask
God daily during your prayer and scripture study to reveal His workings in your
life, so you can be ready with personal examples.
COMPELLING--Your witness needs to be such that God can, and will, honor
it--to His glory. God not only honors an authentic witness but also works
strongly in the life of the listener, compelling the person to hear and
respond. Your witness must come out of real life. You need to be ready to
articulate how God is changing your life and working in situations with which
the ordinary person can readily identify, such as family, work, finances,
health, life decisions. A compelling witness causes a person to immediately
want to hear more, ask vital questions and have a greater openness to the
All this preparation is not difficult. But it does require a choice. You
must have the desire to be an authentic witness, followed by obedience to your
Lord. You must desire Him and, therefore, choose to maintain a vital, daily
walk with Him. If you meet Him daily, and authentically, He will work obedience
in you, in all you say and do in your life. This obedience will dramatically
affect those with whom you share your witness.
God bless you in your real pursuit of Him, that others will listen with
attention and receptivity to what they so desperately need to hear.
The author of Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby is special assistant to
the president, for Prayer and Spiritual Awakening, North American Mission
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC