Stoneman advises Christians who want to be more at ease sharing the gospel
to find what works for them and not to worry about being super-Christians. "We
need to remember that we are empowered. It's not necessary to know every
biblical fact but to be ready to share what you do know when the opportunity
arises. When you carry the word in your heart, it's easy to share it from your
Like many Christians, Stoneman believes that building relationships is
essential to sharing Christ. However, Stoneman believes a relationship can be
built in minutes if a person is attentive and interested. "Everybody wears a
name tag these days," he says, "but not many people hear their names said in a
positive way. Simple friendship and kind words to a stranger can be enough of a
relationship to share Christ."
While a pastor, Stoneman frequently used this relationship technique with
strangers. He calls it "supermarket ministry." As a result, nine people at his
local grocery store accepted Christ after encountering this on mission
customer. "You don't need a long-term relationship. If you really listen, you
can build relationships quickly."
Stoneman uses an effective method for getting to know waiters in
restaurants. He asks them for prayer requests before he bows his head and prays
before his meal. Offering to pray for someone is the most powerful tool for
witnessing, he says.
Stoneman is sensitive to the fact that everyone is hurting in some way. He
also knows the value of a sympathetic ear. Citing Jesus' relationship with the
woman at the well, Stoneman calls his technique "casual confrontation."
"Jesus first put the woman at the well at ease and befriended her. Then He
addressed her pain and offered help. Witnessing today is the same," says
"People are hungry to share their hurts and doubts." They also want to know
there is hope for a better future.
Stoneman grew up in a turbulent home. He admits that he wasn't sure Christ
was the answer to life's problems the first time he heard the gospel at the age
of 9. His parents attended a revival and both became Christians.
Young Stoneman, however, wasn't convinced that any real good would come of
his parents' salvation. Three years later, Stoneman began to believe that Jesus
did change lives. Seeing how his parents' language, demeanor and interests were
altered convinced him that God did make a difference. At 13 Stoneman gave his
life to Christ.
Since then he has spent his life offering hope to others. A pastor for 30
years, Stoneman has been an evangelism consultant for Utah and Idaho in Sandy,
Utah, where he and his wife, Jeanette, have lived for three years.
During a visit to Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center, Stoneman continued
his one-on-one encounters asking those he met if they had built a relationship
with Christ. One man, who assured Stoneman that he was on good terms with
Jesus, later appeared as a speaker for the conference. It was North American
Mission Board President Bob Reccord. The encounter shows that Stoneman
routinely shares his love for Christ with everyone he meets.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC