by dick church
Take out a half sheet of paper.
These words spoken by my Hebrew professor at seminary literally made me feel
sick. I knew what was coming . . . a pop quiz! But if I had prepared the night
before, it wouldnt have been a big deal.
So, what about you? Are you ready for a quick test? Question number one:
Whats the number one reason believers dont share their faith? Pencils down.
Anyone? The answer is fear. Many believers are scared to share, because they
dont know what to say. One of the easiest ways to eliminate this fear is to
teach people a simple method for sharing the truths of the gospel. You dont
need a doctorate in theology to be an effective witness. If the gospel is so
simple that a child can understand it, it shouldnt be too hard to learn to
Question number two: Whats the best evangelism training resource to teach
Christians how to share their faith? Let me answer that one for you, being
manager of the Personal Evangelism unit at the North American Mission Board. My
response is simple: Its the one you will use!
No matter how an evangelism training resource may be packaged or how
extensive or costly it may be, the power is not in the materialits in the
gospel. When we share the message of salvation, something supernatural takes
place. Often we forget that its the work of the Holy Spirit that convinces a
person of the truthfulness of the gospel message and brings conviction of sin
that leads to repentance. So, share Christ and leave the results to God! We
cannot save anyone. We are only messengers. Remember what Paul said, I planted,
Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. Its time to get out there in our
culture and do some serious planting and watering!
But how do we begin? What are some simple ways to learn how to share the
Resources can assist believers in learning how to articulate their faith.
NAMB recently developed two exciting new resourcesthe One-Hour Witnessing
Workshop and the One-Day Witnessing Workshop.
Many church members cant spare 12 or 16 weeks for training. People are
very busy, and we must provide flexibility and options when it comes to
equipping them, says Toby Frost, interim director of Direct Evangelism, NAMB.
The simpler the better.
The One-Hour/One-Day Witnessing Workshops are very basic, easy to teach and
flexible to use. In as little as an hour, pastors and church leaders can equip
believers to share Christ. By learning how to use a colorful witnessing card,
believers leave the training equipped to share their story of salvation with a
The primary difference between the two workshops, other than the time
factor, is that the One-Day Workshop provides a planned witnessing experience,
so believers can get out of the classroom and into the culture. Churches using
the One-Day Workshop plan a process for believers to go and share the gospel.
It may be going door-to-door, visiting a Sunday school prospect or making a
friendly visit to a neighbors home.
As a result of the One-Day Witnessing Workshop, Mark Parks, director of
missions for Sandtown Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, says, I sense a new
boldness in our members as we have begun to reach a new apartment complex. Weve
had four people give their lives to Christ. Three were baptized in the
apartment swimming pool.
Mike Lee, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Jackson, Michigan, recently led
Bud to faith in Christ using the One-Day Witnessing card. According to Lee: Now
Bud says about himself, I love the new Bud. This is the way I always wanted to
be but never thought was possible. Lee has now given Bud more than 25
witnessing cards in Spanish. Although Bud cant read or speak a word in Spanish,
he uses the graphic illustrations on the card to witness to many Hispanics who
work with him.
The One-Hour and One-Day materials are flexible and can be used in a variety
of ways. Dr. Robert Dickerson, pastor of First Baptist Church in DuQuoin,
Illinois, says, We used materials in four Wednesday evening sessions of
discipleship training. Since the materials could be downloaded free, we were
able to invest in purchasing the witnessing cards. We recommend these to anyone
looking for the highest quality training materials for little or no
All training materials for One-Hour and One-Day Witnessing Workshops with
the exception of the colorful witnessing cards are free. The training materials
can be downloaded from www.namb.net/ onedaywitness in English, Korean, Spanish and
Chinese. Witnessing cards can be ordered online or by calling 866-407-NAMB.
Thousands of pastors and churches from all over the world have downloaded these
Pastor Rex Tillman of Immanuel Baptist in El Paso, Texas, equipped 700
laypersons using the One-Hour material. I decided to present the workshop as
part of a series of two Sunday morning messages. This is a great way to train
hundreds of people to share their faith with confidence, he says.
Both the One-Hour and One-Day Workshops incorporate The NET evangelism
strategy. The NET, developed by NAMB in November of 2000, has been ordered by
at least 9,000 churches to equip believers to articulate the gospel.
I refer to The NET as the Cadillac of the North American Mission Boards
equipping resources. Its a comprehensive, eight-session evangelism training
program thats Mentor- and Apprentice-based. If youre looking for a more
extensive approach to evangelism training, The NET is a great way to go.
The basic foundation of The NET, as well as the One-Hour and One-Day
Witnessing materials, is your personal story. We recommend following this
Your life before you came to know Christ as Lord and
How you came to Christ
How your life is different now
The NET process teaches the participant how to incorporate the essential
truths of the gospel into the telling of your story. So, when you share your
personal testimony, you also are sharing the gospel. By doing this, The NET
gospel presentation is neither canned, nor scripted. Its your own story! Its a
natural way to share Christ.
In post-modern culture, the use of our personal story or testimony is
extremely valuable. It communicates our own experience of God, and the culture
cannot refute it. In fact, post-moderns respect it, because its authentic,
which is valued by that segment of the population.
Doug Jividen, pastor of Plymouth Baptist Church, Plymouth, Indiana, has seen
The NET work in his church. The strength of The NET is in training our people
to use their testimonies. Now theyre eager to do outreach.
Roger Oakley, a Plymouth outreach leader, struggled with sharing his faith.
But after going through The NET, Oakley has become passionate about evangelism.
Many times, Roger has come to me and said, Man, its wonderful to know how to
share my testimony, says Jividen.
The simplicity of The NET is what caused our people to embrace it, he adds.
Everyone feels confident sharing their faith.
Martha Shores, a music librarian at First Baptist Church of Snellville,
Georgia, has recently gone through NET training. Her reason for being trained
in evangelism is simple: Jesus expects us to do what He commanded.
Although she considers herself somewhat shy and a little fearful of moving
outside her comfort zone, she says about The NET training: I made it through,
and it didnt kill me!
Now, take out a half sheet of paper. Whats keeping you from sharing your
To order The NET kit call 866-407-NAMB. Or order online at www.namb.net/catalog.
Dick Church is manager of Personal Evangelism at NAMB.
Presenting the good news for maximum impact
By David Horton
Mark had invited his neighbor Jeremy to attend some events at his church,
but Jeremy never seemed interested. When Jeremy confided that his marriage was
in serious trouble, Mark seized the opportunity. You need Jesus Christ in your
When Jeremy didnt respond, Mark charged ahead. The Bible says weve all
sinned and fallen short of Gods standard. He outlined what the Bible says about
sin, separation and salvation. After a few minutes, Jeremy excused himself
Mark was frustrated. I wish I knew how to get through to Jeremy, he told his
Do Jeremys discomfort and Marks frustration sound familiar? Marks sincerity
and boldness are commendable, and he was absolutely right: Jeremy does need
Christ in his life. But somehow Mark wasnt really connecting with Jeremy.
Dick Church, manager of Personal Evangelism for NAMB, says a much-overlooked
key to effective evangelism is listening. We need to think of witnessing as a
conversation, he says, not a monologue.
Listening requires flexibility. Its comfortingas well as prudentto memorize
the essential ingredients of the gospel, just as Mark did. But its important to
keep your options open when it comes to bringing the subject into a
conversation. The gospel doesnt change, but every person is unique. With one
ear tuned to the Holy Spirit and the other to your friend, youre more likely to
discern the right course of action.
Dianes teenage daughter had run away from home for the third time, and over
lunch she blurted out the whole story to her co-worker, Shauna.
I feel like a failure as a mother, Diane sighed.
As Shauna listened, she realized she could relate. I know what you mean
about feeling like a failure, she said, and she told Diane how she had nearly
ruined her own marriage. When Brad walked out the door, I knew something had to
What did you do? asked Diane.
First, I had to face up to the fact that I had a problem, Shauna said. And I
discovered that my basic problem was a sin problem. My own sin was keeping me
from experiencing the kind of life Id always wanted. Shauna explained how she
had learned that God loved her in spite of everything, that he sent Jesus
Christ to take care of her sin problem. Then she related how she came to know
Christ in a personal way.
Has it really made a difference? asked Diane.
My life didnt suddenly become perfect, but with Christ in my life, I found
the humility to admit my mistakes to Brad, the courage to begin making good
decisions for our marriage and the strength to keep going even when the going
was tough. Without Gods help, I dont think I could have made it.
Does my story make sense to you, Diane? she asked. Can you see how a
relationship with Christ could change your life?
Sounds like youve found what I need, Diane replied.
Shaunas approach is remarkably simple, yet it can have a profound effect.
First, Shauna recounted a turning point in her spiritual journey. Her
experience wasnt identical to Dianes, but it related to what Diane was feeling.
Like most people, Diane found validity in Shaunas story. Its hard to argue with
Shauna explained the biblical basis for what happened to her, then returned
to her story, telling how she came to know Christ in a personal way. She
explained how her life is different with Christ in charge.
Then Shauna gave Diane an opportunity to step over the line of faith. It
wasnt dramatic or manipulative. She simply gave her a chance to make a
Theres no magic formula when it comes to leading a friend or acquaintance to
faith in Christ, but the next time an opportunity comes your way, try the
1. Listen. Is the Spirit prompting you to speak up? Is your friend open to
what you have to say? What need, concern, longing, fear, etc. is he or she
communicating? Remember that evangelism is not a monologue!
2. Begin your story. What experience(s) caused you to recognize your need
for a change? How does your spiritual journey (or some element of it) relate to
the person youre talking with? It doesnt matter whether your sinful past could
be made into a movie or is relatively dull. Perhaps you came to faith at an
early age. Think of ways to communicate what your life would have been like
3. Explain the basics. a) Sin is the universal problem. b) God loves us no
matter who we are or what weve done. c) God sent Jesus to take care of our sin
problem (tell who He is and what He did). Many reliable methods and models can
help you: The NET, the bridge illustration, the Roman Road, Steps to Peace With
God, The Four Spiritual Laws, etc. Find one thats comfortable for you.
4. Continue your story. How did you come to know Christ personally? Dont
give a sermonjust tell what happened to you. What changed? How is your life
different now that you have a relationship with God?
5. Ask for a response. Almost everyone needs an invitation to take the final
step into Gods family. Would you like to receive Gods forgiveness in your life?
is very simple, yet it offers a chance to respond. Be open to questions and
further dialogue. Be creative. Come up with your own inviting questions. One
size doesnt fit all!
6. Show the way. Lead your friend in a brief prayer of repentance and
commitment to Jesus Christ. There is no formula, no magic words. God knows a
contrite heart when He hears one! Make sure your friend does the praying.
7. Affirm the decision. Once your friend has stepped over the line of faith,
offer words of affirmation or congratulations such as the angels are
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