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How can a Christian overcome the fear of witnessing? May I share a few ideas that have helped me. First and most important, you need to know and understand what you believe and what you want to share with others. Take time to write down your personal, sincere beliefs, perhaps in a list format so you can confirm them with Scripture. Then search the Bible, perhaps with a friend, to confirm that your beliefs are scriptural. Record the Scripture reference by the item in your list of beliefs so you can study and review them. Continue your study of God’s word so you can add to your list of beliefs additional spiritual concepts you learn. As you continue to study and review your beliefs, they will become a part of you. Spend time reading your list of beliefs to a family member or close friend. If you can, share them from memory. Allow those listening to ask you questions so you can confirm your beliefs to them with Scripture. Always be humble when sharing your faith. Be willing to be challenged because it will help you to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” You will be “filled” as you continue to study God’s word for truth in order to answer the challenges. After preparing yourself as suggested above, there are several ways you might have an opportunity to share your faith-story with someone, other than your family. This has happened to me. I would be reading my Bible in a public place (at the airport, on a plane, in the doctor’s waiting area, on a bus, etc.). A stranger would notice what I was doing and would initiate a conversation. Generally speaking, I was able to share my faith because I knew what I believed. Then, there is the way I would initiate the conversation. If appropriate, meaning that I did not want to be obnoxious or embarrass a stranger, I would ask if they had a relationship with God. If they replied, “Yes,” I would ask them to tell me about it. We would converse and exchange our faith-story relationships with God. If they replied, “No,” I would ask them if I could share my story with them. If they replied, “Yes,” I was ready. If they replied, “No,” I would invite them to contact me if they ever wanted to talk about spiritual things. I would leave it at that. Of course, one of the best witnesses is to live what you believe. Doors of opportunity may open for you to share your faith-story when others witness your “light shining” in this “dark” world. At work or school or wherever you might be, things like your attire, your grooming, your language, your humor, your honesty, your habits, all of these and more will be noticed. In fact, some might ridicule or bully you. But, how you respond will be noticed, as well. Be what God wants you to be and do not be ashamed. Let those who ridicule or bully you be ashamed. Note what the Apostle Peter wrote: 1 Peter 3:13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. NIV
In his parting words to the disciples, Jesus said, "... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses..." (Acts 1:8). I take it, then, that we are to "be" witnesses and not necessarily "do" witnessing. At the risk of oversimplifying the issue, we only have to be ready to give testimony to what we have "seen and heard" when questioned or given the opportunity (Acts 4:20). Otherwise, it is with our lives of "good works" that our lights shine in such a way that others glorify our heavenly Father (Mt. 5:14-16). I imagine that is why Peter begins his, now famous, statement regarding delivering our apologia ("defense") with, "... sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts" (1 Pe. 3:15). Our witness does not begin with a packaged program or prepared script--both of which usually leave me cold--, but with the sacred place that Jesus occupies in our hearts as Lord. Peter has some other excellent advice that we would do well to follow. For example, when we do give an account for the hope within us, we are to do so with "gentleness and reverence." It seems to me this would preclude heated debates or engaging in a battle of wills or egos. He also says that our "good behavior" speaks for itself and is a powerful contradiction to slander when it is thrown at us (1 Pe. 3:16). Of course, it is much easier to talk salvation and the gospel than it is to live the message. Now I would ask you, What is it about witnessing that frightens you? Is it cold-call evangelism to strangers? If so, it's possible that God is not asking that of you. I have noticed that missionaries tend to expect every Christian to be a missionary and evangelists expect every Christian to evangelize (as, I am sure, there are many theologians who wish we were all theologians). But "evangelist" is what is referred to as an "office" in the Christian community as "apostle," "prophet" and "pastor" are offices (Ep. 4:11). If you are in a situation where you think someone should put in a good word for Jesus but nothing comes to mind, then be silent. It is enough if you pray and be at peace. When God wants you to speak, his Spirit will give you the speech. Otherwise, "Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near" (Php. 4:5).
To overcome the fear of witnessing, a Christian must look at the image of Christ crucified. Just last month, 21 Coptic Christians have been beheaded and ISIS released the video showing the gruesome details. We can see the price of persisting to remain Christian. Even under the blade, some were making their last prayers and as the blade came to their neck they all cried in unison their last words, "Ya Rabbi Yasou" (O My Lord Jesus), the caption by ISIS stated "these insisted to remain in unbelief". In other words, they were given the option to convert or die and everyone of them refused, even unto death. Christians have been persecuted since the First Century. Jesus himself answered the question: "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household" (Matt. 10:25). "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world... the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you" (John 15:18–20).
What overflows from your heart will come out of your mouth. So fill your heart with God's love, and it will flow out of your mouth.
I don't think that you ever do. I witness all the time. But, in saying that, it is who I am 24/7. I get an opening and it is going to happen. As you are talking, drop a few crumbs, and see if they bite. Like, mentioning that you are a christian, or asking about the cross that they are wearing. Compliment their tattoo, and then ask them if they think it would be alright if you got one, because you are a Christian. Then share your testimony along with what the cross was all about. Do not recite scripture chapter and verse. It never works. You come across like a know it all. Ask them to explain it to you, and then tighten it all up with the true gospel. It is always a bit scary to approach. But you are led by the Spirit. You don't need to do some song and dance show. Just let 'em have it, and the Spirit with drive that message home in them. The fact that you are asking this, says to me that it is your gift. I love you, as do all the brethren.
I don't think it's fear of witnessing to the gospel, I believe it's fear of performing. I think it's the same as being relaxed and calm shooting hoops alone in your yard, and being a bit nervous when doing the same thing in front of others in a real game. It's fear of not doing well in your performance. Church leaders (some) tell people they are "COMMANDED" to witness, putting pressure on people who should shoot hoops in their backyard and leave it at that. They use Matt 28 to make the case for EVERYBODY proselytizing. To the reticent of trying to witness the gospel: You're fine! Listen to me! You're probably afraid of "the performance." Consider this: You're driving down a country road at night behind a car. The car runs off the road and overturns, trapping the occupant inside. (An emergency situation) You call it in and stop to help, staying with the driver until EMS arrives. In the meantime, the driver confesses to you that he/she has never been "religious." The person is having what they think could be a "final rights" moment. I don't think you'd have a problem, if you know the truth of the gospel, with telling the person about the goodness of God in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:10). The reason being, you would probably be just as emotionally involved from the heart as the hurting person, and would be led by the sensitivity of your heart, instead of a mandate you've been carrying around, trying to fulfill an empty quota system. You don't know how to approach a stranger and start a conversation about Jesus. GOOD! THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU'RE CALLED TO DO! It is the Spirit which gives life; the flesh is no help at all... John 6:63 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills (I Cor 12:7,8,9,10,11). Again, "as He wills." If your gift isn't listed here it doesn't mean you don't have a gift. This isn't an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts. This is to let us know that we aren't all called to do the same things. But what we are called to do, we are empowered to do by the same Spirit. You're called to do what the Spirit of God leads you to do instead of trying to check off a box on behalf of your christian logbook. If He wants you to approach strangers and witness for Jesus, He'll enable you to do it. Until then, relax and shoot hoops in your own backyard.
I share the fine answer provided by our friend Mr Houdmann but will like to add another dimension to the discussion. Let me begin by referring to the scriptures: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" -Romans 10:13-15 KJV. A Christian witness is a preacher of the " glad tidings of good things". And he must have learnt and believed the "glad tidings" and then be "sent". But what actually is the glad tidings? Let us hear from Jesus himself who also was the most outstanding preacher of the good news: "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent:for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". (Matthew 4:17). "And when daybreak came, He left.... and went into an isolated [desert] place. And the people looked for Him until they came up to Him and tried to prevent Him from leaving them. But He said to them, I must preach the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom of God to the other cities...also, for I was sent for this [purpose]. And He continued to preach in the synagogues of Galilee (Luke 4:42 - 44 AMP). "SOON AFTERWARD, [Jesus] went on through towns and villages, preaching and bringing the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom of God. And the Twelve [apostles] were with Him (Luke 8:1 AMP). "And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand! " Matthew 10:7 AMP). "And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end"(Matthew 24:14 AMP). Angels add their voice: "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, with an eternal Gospel (good news) to tell to the inhabitants of the earth, to every race and tribe and language and people. And he cried with a mighty voice, Revere God and give Him glory...., for the hour of His judgment has arrived. Fall down before Him; pay Him homage and adoration and worship Him Who created heaven and earth, the sea and the springs (fountains) of water (Revelation 14:6 - 7 AMP). Our conclusion? The preaching or witnessing that Christians have to engage in revolves around what The Bible refers to as "the good news about the kingdom of God"! Even angles participate (or provide support and guidance) in this witnessing work! In my opinion, most of us have not really been taught, or may not have learnt and believed "this good news of the kingdom" and therefore do not have the confidence of someone "sent". Someone who has learnt the real good news would appreciate what the love of God means; he would appreciate the need, and be compelled to share what he has learnt and believed about the good news. Even if somehow shy or lacks confidence, he would depend on the loving support of fellow preachers, and be provided necessary tools that he needs for the witnessing work by his religious organization. In line with Mr Zickefoose's answer, the witness would adjust his presentations to the peculiar circumstances of his listener. The real good news affects all circumstances; its presentation can be adapted to suit or address any circumstance. It only requires the witness to be observant. Furthermore, continuos personal study of God's Word and applying it in one's life is very important. We are enjoined to "make sure of all things and hold on to what is fine". And, keeping in mind the admonition that apostle Paul gave to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:15-16, a Christian will be encouraged and emboldened to witness. Finally, prayer is of utmost importance. Reliance on God is paramount. The work is God's. A witness is only a fellow worker with God, who gives the increase, according to1 Corinthians 3:5-7.
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