Evangelism: Tips I Learned From The J-Dubs

After a long Easter weekend of services, being on the local news for 3 seconds, and visiting a church member in the hospital, I was not ready for Monday morning. So, while at home for lunch Monday, I tried to get in a quick 15 minute power nap. It was rudely interrupted by my doorbell. Composing myself I opened the door to find a Jehovah’s Witness (J-Dub) waiting for me. In the course of our conversation I made some mental notes on how to make sure your personal evangelism experience fails. Here they are:

1) Go door to door – I know some people right now are mad at me saying this, but it’s true. I’m not sure if/when this was an effective evangelism strategy, but I think we’re in a post-Evangelism Explosion world these days. Most people don’t like to be interrupted at home, especially if they’re asleep. Also because so many groups have done this in the past most people don’t trust someone randomly coming to their door. Case in point – I caught glimpse of my other neighbor peeking around her garage to see who it was that had come to her door. She was home, but she wasn’t answering the door for people she didn’t know.

2) Read a script – Reading a script is the fastest way to come across as a salesman. It oozes that you haven’t owned the message for yourself, but that you’re saying what you’ve been told to say. The script also shows that you are more focused on saying what you want to say instead of engaging with the person you’re talking to. Once this lady and I started talking, I was asking her questions. Once those questions got her off her script she kept saying she didn’t want to hold up the 2 other people waiting for her in the car. She wasn’t interested in my objections.

3) Don’t know your stuff – I began to realize that I knew more about her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness than she did. On 2 separate occasions she admitted to things that I know are not J-dub beliefs. Make sure in your zeal to share with someone that you’re not unintentionally straying from orthodoxy. Along these lines takes verses out of context or completely miss the meaning all together if you really want to make a failed point. She ended our discussion telling me to read Proverbs 8 as if this was the crushing blow to trinitarianism.

4) Make yourself out to be smarter than whoever you’re talking to – My favorite part of yesterday’s conversation was her appeal to me to use logic. It’s as if whatever I believe in is rooted in something that would make no sense to me. Most people, no matter what they believe, find that what they believe makes sense to them. We may have to ask questions that make people take a look at their logic, but very few gains will be made by elevating your ability to comprehend something over another. Now this doesn’t mean not to make logical, coherent arguments. But make them in such a way that doesn’t give off the impression that you’re smart and they’re not. As we discussed John 1:1 and how her New World Translation says that “the Word was a god” I asked her why it would say that since ancient Greek has no indefinite article (i.e. “a” or “an”). I also asked her why her translation was one of the only English translations among many that phrased it like that. Since we were appealing to logic of course.   

So, you may be wondering what can I do if I don’t want to fail.

Basically do the opposite of everything above. Simply build relationships with people and share within the context of those relationships. You will be more willing to share and those you’re sharing with will be more willing to listen. Approach people in humility, with a sincere concern for their salvation and not as a target. Talk about what God has done and is doing in your life. That’s a testimony, not a script. Find out what objections people have to Christianity and be able to discuss those or at a minimum be able to point them to resources dealing with their objections. A great resource is Tim Killer’s The Reason For God.

Above all, pray. Pray that God would open the eyes of people to understand and accept the gospel message. Pray that we would be sensitive to opportunities to share. Pray that we would be obedient to share and that we would trust God and God alone for the results.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Evangelism: Tips I Learned From The J-Dubs

  1. jimmoonjr

    ToddGreat post. You are spot on. Here are some 2 cents of my own.Going door to door was great in the 70s. I did it alot as a teenaged son of a Crusade staffer – through neighborhoods where everyone knew each other and sat on the porch, kept their doors open, etc. I led at least a dozen people to faith that way before I was 16. Of course we all shared the same world view and they never argued about their sin. Just hadn’t heard the part about grace and faith. Old guy moment… O and I knew my stuff cold but started with a survey.And I’m finding now that confessing my sinfulness is the very best way to talk about the gospel with my friends who don’t believe. One guy told me it startled him to hear a ‘preacher’ say he was a sinner.How sad that more of us don’t humble ourselves in meaningful ways – confession, serving, loving, actually giving a crap.But what an opportunity too!

  2. Todd Singletary

    Jim – Great word. I’ve been shocked since I’ve been in church ministry how many people are taken aback when I say it’s okay to have doubts and ask questions. Leading with our sinfulness and our limitations is a great way to tear down walls while simply being honest.

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