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A Witnessing Lifestyle
Abstract: I promote a witnessing lifestyle.
While in college I helped produce a multimedia production in which we asked people what they were waiting for—as I use the term “multimedia” I have to smile because at that time it meant stringing some Kodak projectors together with sound. Our presentation took all of eight minutes as I recall, and consisted of a excerpts of interviews held with people of all ages.
The young kids were waiting to go to school. The Elementary age children were waiting to get into the higher grades, or into High School. The High Schoolers were waiting to get their drivers licenses and going to college so they could have more freedom. The students in college were waiting till they graduated so they could get married and have more time to do what they wanted—so that life could really start for them. The newly married were busily working on buying a house and starting a family. The middle aged people were looking forward to getting further ahead in their job, having grandkids, or having their children move out on their own so that peace and quiet could return to their lives. Those towards the end of their careers were looking forward to enjoying their retirement. Those in retirement were not so sure. And the ones we interviewed in nursing homes had run out of things to look forward, perhaps a visit from their families, and one couldn’t help but wonder if they had achieved all the things they had been hoping for.
All of the interviewees had a future focus to their lives. Granted we asked the question in that way, but few, if any, responded, “O I am loving what I am doing now.”
In my interaction with young adults and friends I often find a “waiting” attitude: waiting for that guy or gal of their dream, waiting for graduation and getting out on the job, etc.. But life is meant to be lived EVERY day!
I find a similar “waiting” attitude when it comes to witnessing, and believe this waiting attitude is part of the challenge we face in being witnesses for Jesus.
For too long we have been taught that witnessing is something you do with the church on the weekend, or something you do with people who are especially qualified, or is done by people who have lots of time on their hands—like retired people.
Now I don’t minimize what retired people do, nor do I minimize the activities that go on with churches like Keith has mentioned in the one post on Shine in Edmonton (I think the idea is wonderful), but I question whether God really wants us to always be waiting for the weekend or more convenient moments to witness.
Accordingly, I would like to advance a “witnessing lifestyle.”
What do I mean?
A witnessing lifestyle is one where we have…
1. Sought to be the vessel that God can use for His kingdom.
2. Believed that God can use us regardless of how qualified we may feel ourselves to be (II Cor. 4:7).
3. Taken the time to prayerfully consider God’s commission to go into all the world, starting in Jerusalem and going out from there, so to speak, and accepted the commission to be His agents EVERY day (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8).
4. Taken the time to think through how we are going to reach people, and draw them into a relationship with ourselves and with other believers (John 1:41,42).
5. Taken the time prepare materials that we can carry and share with people EVERY day, even if it means only having one resource available to share with a classmate, work colleague, or attendant at the gas station.
6. Taken the time to pray at the beginning of the day asking God to lead us to people that He is trying to reach, and seeking His eyes to see the fields that are white for harvest.
7. Taken the time to quietly pray for each person we meet during the day, asking God to open the way for a conversation about God.
8. Made ourselves available for God to work in and through us throughout the day.
9. Invited people to learn about Jesus and give their lives to Him, in appropriate ways, as we meet them throughout the day (John 4:29).
10. Invested time in learning about witnessing in our Bible study, by reading books of others who have been used by God, taking classes on the subject, and being part of a group where we can be challenged, pray together, and encourage one another.
11. Carved out time every week to spend some time witnessing.
12. Intentionally sought out experiences where we can be challenged (witnessing on the streets with our friends, for example).
13. Carved out territory that we will pray for and do our best to reach (be it our workplace, our neighborhood, or a section of the town we live in).
This isn’t a comprehensive list, but certainly includes some of the elements that would be present to have a “witnessing lifestyle.”
So if nothing else, ask God to give you a heart to reach out to those who don’t know him today, pray and ask Him for those divinely ordained encounters, believe that what happens today is in His control, take a piece of literature with you that you can leave with someone else, and pray for each person you interact with, and ask God to at least give you one good conversation for Him TODAY.
I will write more on these elements in the future, but this is a good beginning.
Perhaps you can think of some other elements. I will start a post on the witnessing lifestyle so you can add more there. (for those that are reading this elsewhere than facebook, join us on facebook in the group Christian Witnessing Works. Write me for an invite at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Have a blessed day witnessing!