How to Witness When You're Nervous

I have a secret to share with you.

Don’t you just love it when bloggers say that? Like it's really a secret now! But, it does make things sound more intriguing, so please come step inside my little circle of 2 billion potential readers on this world-wide web and, together, let's dismiss the lie that:

you have to be a Spiritual Giant to effectively share Christ with someone.

1. Remember there is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man!

A common temptation for Christians is to be fearful - fearful of what others will think of us, or fearful we won't remember what to say when the pressure is on. I know what it’s like to be in the heat of the spotlight and have all good and dear memory wiped clean. Seriously. Ask the re-assuring, sweetheart of a judge who patiently endured more tears than notes as I fumbled my shivering little fingers all over her piano. Ask a few of my friends (that still claim me) after attending a recital I participated in when I was a spindly little daydreaming 14-year-old. Actually, don’t do that, please. :) Truth is, when we’re stretching our limits and stepping outside of our comfort zone, being overcome with fear is a common setback, and I believe it has crippled many an opportunity for souls to hear about Jesus. We’re afraid of forgetting something, anything, everything! Sharing the Gospel may feel somewhat intimidating when we are both learning more about Christianity ourselves all the time (as we should) and aren’t very used to sharing the Scriptures with somebody. Am I right? Well we have to start somewhere!

2. Recognize God arranges divine encounters.

I took my place in an airplane next to a woman a few years ago who looked like she was somewhere in her mid-40’s. She had bouncy, curly dark brown hair and a vivacious, friendly personality to match. But her eyes were deep and troubled, and behind her bubbly conversation I discerned a confused and searching spirit, similar to those who asked in Psalm 4:6, "Who will shew us any good?" As novice as I felt in the area of witnessing, I knew this was a divine encounter.

3. Make sharing the Gospel a conversation, not a presentation.

This lady beside me began to read a book I had, in God’s providence, heard a talk-show host discuss just prior to my trip. I had heard enough of it to have a number of cautions against endorsing the material, but also knew that it could lead to talking about the Lord, were I to inquire after her reading choice. A sweeping, gut-wrenching “I’m supposed to witness to this person beside me” conviction suddenly flooded over me and swarmed up enough words to spark up a conversation. The lady, in response, began to describe what her book was about and how wonderful it was, describing how a man “found God” in a somewhat creepy, out-of-body experience. I smiled and nodded and asked, “What do you think it means to find God?” She wasn’t really sure how to answer, but described how she had explored various religions such as Catholic, Lutheran, and Jehovah’s Witness. In spite of all her religious pursuits, she was without answers to the plethora of questions that only continued to grow in intensity as she did in age. 

4. Think smarter, not harder.

Bible references were escaping me, and I didn’t have just the right words to say, but my belief that this was a divine encounter was only confirmed when I discovered in my carryon a torn piece of notebook paper with a list of verses I had been working on memorizing! They were organized, under categories such as “Salvation”, “Love”, “Hell”, and “Heaven”. Pulling the paper out, I asked her if she would like to look at some Scriptures with me. She was intrigued and heartily agreed. She then began to point towards this or that category, and I would look up the corresponding verses, stopping to describe what they meant, and answering her questions as best as I could. If you have a hard time remembering references when you're nervous, carrying a similar card or piece of paper with you would be a great idea!

Another things you can do is “map” our your Bible. For example,  if you can just remember to start with a verse such as Romans 3:23, than write beside that verse another one to flip to, such as Romans 6:23. Next to Romans 6:23, you could write Romans 5:8, and besides Romans 5:8, write Romans 10:9-10 and so on, using whatever path you choose through the Scriptures in order to share the entire Gospel without the pressure of forgetting what to say!

5. Let God's Word do the work.

Her heart was full! We talked and talked over the Gospel and the Bible, and she even enquired after the end times. Again in God’s Providence, I had come across an old chart in my room before packing for my trip, which laid out the order of events described in Revelation. I was about to set it aside as soon as I discovered it, but then pulled it back, and read the paper over first. Had I not reviewed those notes again, I truly believe I would not have been able to describe to her with nearly the same measure of clarity what the Scriptures have to say about Jesus’s return! The lady was very intrigued with the topic, and so I asked if she would like me to read to her from the book of Revelation. She did, and her interest remained captured – not in me or what I was saying, but by the power of hearing the Word of God. Isaiah 55:11 says, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The spotlight is not on us, it is on the Scriptures. The fate of a soul does not rest on our ability to present logic or spin words and arguments craftily – it is the Word of God which is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God

Just as we were wrapping our conversation up and I placed my Bible back in my carryon, the pilot said over the intercom, “Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. I would like to be the first to welcome you to . . . ” . We had spent almost the entire flight talking about the Lord! I soon discovered that she, her husband, and their two friends were flying to Florida for none other reason but to relax and read. She asked what Bible I would suggest she purchase once she landed. I prompted her to begin reading in the book of John during her vacation and thought how wonderful God is, to arrange to the two of us to sit together before she even set foot in Florida to begin her vacation of nothing but reading; Her heart was full of The Word, and her reading material redirected towards the Gospel! Praise the Lord He uses imperfect people to reach imperfect people.