3 Powerful Tips on Witnessing to Lost Souls
Updated: Oct 10, 2022
In this article, I will provide three (3) tips on both approaching and witnessing to lost souls.
Witnessing to Lost Souls Requires Boldness
When we look around at the United States today, only the blind believe that things are “OK.” American is under God’s judgment. Inflation and the ensuing political chaos are only symptoms of the nation’s sickness.
It is time for the Saints of God to stop playing religious games!
As a Church Pastor and business owner, both the spiritual and secular reality of the situation is apparent. Worse, those currently without a relationship with Jesus Christ are frightened and seeking answers.
We, as Believers, have the answers in the “now” as well as prophetic – so why are we silent? The reasons are legion but mostly, the church has become an organization of COWARDS and reprobates “living the American Dream.”
2nd Peter 2:20-22 says warns these people:
Nevertheless, as a current “street preacher” as well as Pastor, I meet the lost frequently. However, I find the lost most reasonable than the so-called followers of Christ I meet on the streets!
If the Church ever moves beyond praying to real action, our communities would be unrecognizable.
The very people we pray for are often those we intentionally neglect. They are people with no hope and who will never come to the House of God.
When witnessing, we should focus more on what the lost believe as opposed to what we want them to.
How do we get to this stage (witnessing) unless we are intentional with outreach?
Scripture declares: “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14). I understand the importance of works because years ago someone witnessed to me. When I finally arrived at the point when I was prepared to publicly witness, it was amazing!
Once I publicly, on street corners, proclaiming how God saved me through Jesus Christ, my life has never been the same. I did, in the early days, get discouraged, however.
People mocked, laughed, and resisted that witness. However, resistance in these situations only encouraged me to lean into ministry further.
Witnessing Mandates Knowing What the Lost Think
Something many unbelievers use to resist Jesus is the ungodly conduct of professed Believers. An unbeliever once said: “If God is so righteous, why can’t His followers always act in a righteous manner?”
This is extremely personal to me. I know this "excuse" to be very real. I once worked for an organization populated by professed 'believers' in Jesus.
The hurt, back-stabbing, vitriol, lack of mercy, and threats from white executive leadership made me question my own faith.
However, here is how I answer their excuses: “it is precisely because we cannot measure up to God’s righteous standard, that Jesus Christ came into the world (Luke 19: 10).” I also share it isn’t because we are ‘perfect’ that we follow Jesus – we follow because we’re NOT!
Nevertheless, when witnessing I focus on three things to provide ‘max effective’ interactive seed planting.
First, does she/he refer to God as ‘Him'?
This clarifies whether they believe there is ‘someone’ (Him) apart from humans or if they lean more to an evolutionary viewpoint. Those who hold an evolutionary viewpoint often require a more scientific approach to witnessing.
In this viewpoint, no ‘Him’ exists. God is an abstract concept which is nothing more than a series of chemical reactions.
However, even the most educated natural humanist has yet to explain either “where” chemicals come from or how they understand how to react with one another.
These conversations happen often when the Saints publicly witness. Within this matrix we must understand if whoever we are speaking with is sent as a distraction by Satan.
This can be determined in the first minute or so.
Whether he/she refers to Jesus as ‘He,’ ‘it’ or other, use your discernment to determine if you should move forward (with them).
Sharing Jesus Christ Requires Knowing When to Move On
During these interactions, do not get frustrated and continue to pray for guidance. However, you must determine whether the conversation is worth pursuing.
In a church culture which has lied by teaching “we are not supposed to judge,” this can be hard to do. Of course, those who spread this false doctrine only read the first verse of Matthew Chapter 7 and refuse every verse which follows.
This is the text in Matthew 7 so many abuse to avoid accountability:
Nevertheless, Satan has sent distractions in my street ministry as well. Most recently, a young lady approached while I was street preaching. She was a Believer although very confused!
She was a young white woman, riding her bicycle around in a Black neighborhood. Of course, this makes me suspicious from the outset. Nevertheless, while I was preaching, she said: “Can we sit down and talk about this?”
I paused and asked “why?”
What she said next revealed her true motives: “This isn’t the way; I made the same mistake.” WOW!
She was saying that public witnessing, which is how the church was founded, was inappropriate. I responded: “So, Jesus told you to come out here and tell me to not share Jesus Christ? The same Jesus who publicly preached and healed told you, to tell me, not to do the same?”
I mocked, bull-horned her, and kept preaching. The point is: don’t let distractions keep you from sharing Jesus with the lost.
Keep Focused and Reject Frustration
With respect to the lost, if you demonstrate frustration your labor could be in vain. You are dealing with someone who has no concept of the deeper things of God. One should no more become impatient with them as with a 4-year-old failing to grasp Geometry.
Remember, it is never our job to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter wrote: “being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks." This doesn’t mean we should fail to use wisdom on how that defense is crafted however (1st Peter 3: 15).
What if neither a theological nor scientific approach works? How do we find a way to witness?
Jesus was the master at ‘relevant’ conversation. Remember His interaction with the woman at the well (John 4)?
If you do believe it is worth pursuing, is there space for a 'historical' approach?
Some respond to a theological, others scientific, and still others a historical approach to witnessing.
The historical founding of Israel, and its continued existence is among the most effective witnessing tools I have used.
The “smarty pants” Atheists and Agnostics love to demonstrate their brain power when resisting Jesus. When we review a historical approach nevertheless, the existence of Israel is sure to confound lost history buffs.
The Old Testament addresses the creation event, population development, and the founding family of the modern Israel (Genesis 1-50). When we view the Old Testament, Israel has a unique national history.
This is demonstrated through its chronological development. By presenting this chronological development and staying away from the ‘why’ of its’ founding (Theology), a door to a faith conversation may result.
One of the most effective approaches is presenting the historical Jesus of Nazareth and not Jesus the Messiah.
Further, if weaving a historical narrative is best, Jesus once again showed us the way! Jesus based His very claim to the Messianic Throne on much more than just personal claims.
He often referenced historical Old Testament writings to establish His claim. The goal with this approach is to get the person to acknowledge there was a historical Israel and historical Jesus.
When this point is accepted, a seed of faith has been planted, and without mentioning the 'faith reason' for its the founding.
Remember, you want them to acknowledge that a historical Jesus of Nazareth existed. The seed is now planted for someone to come along and "water" it!
However, when you open the conversation(s) during outreach, brace yourself for the responses. I have had these interactions, received threats, mocking, and even scorn from OTHER professed Believers.
The resistance from professed followers of Jesus Christ was surprising at first. For them to see one of their ‘vaunted’ Pastors (me), standing in a street preaching was a bit shocking.
Imagine the sight of an African American, Missionary Baptist Church Pastor on the streets with a bull horn!
We are supposed to be the ‘wise old sages,’ sitting in air-conditioned pulpits, having cold water served to us. As Mr. Scrooge said: “Bah Humbug”! If Jesus could suffer the indignity, pain, and death on a cross, I can suffer the inconvenience of “looking weird.
A Lost Soul is Precious to God
No matter how difficult outreach is, keep focused on those you are sharing Jesus with. Witnessing to lost souls (and Saints) who mock your outreach takes steadfastness.
Before undertaking this mission nevertheless, self-examination is in order.
One of the most difficult tasks any of us face is self-examination. It is difficult to thoroughly examine ourselves.
How much more difficult for those without God?
Here is a warning I missed which led to years of heart-wrenching self-examination. As a young man, I served in the United States Marine Corps. I had the opportunity to see many countries beyond North America.
We visited a particular country, and a buddy and I had a wonderful time experiencing the culture. My friend and I agreed that once we left this country, we should not look back.
He kept his part of the bargain - I did not.
I held onto something I shouldn’t have, and it wound up producing my life’s greatest regret. Thirty (30) years later, the “woe” spoken of in scripture remains with me.
The point is: self-examination should occur early rather than later. Those who do not self-examine, will wind up living with unimaginable consequence.
As I close, remember that you are not necessarily witnessing to always lead somebody to the cross right then. Scripture teaches: "one plants, one waters, and God gets the increase” (1st Corinthians 3:6-8).
Focusing on anything else, except breaking down barriers, may cause more damage than you can imagine.
Image Header Courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo @ Unsplash