Effective Witnessing for Everyday People

Tip #3 for “Effective Witnessing for Everyday People”

No opportunities. “It is not appropriate to witness at work, and most everyone I connect with are already believers. I don’t see any open doors”. So, Tip #3 for “Effective Witnessing for Everyday People” is what I have labeled “Transactional Evangelism”. Really it is simply being the good Samaritan, that Jesus calls us all to be, and, while genuinely and lovingly helping others, watch for opportunities to share the good news with them (and keep helping them whether they come to Christ or not).

I heard Eric Swanson say: “Evangelism is not our ulterior motive. It is our ultimate motive.” Paul shares in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 how he will do whatever it takes so as to “save some: “ To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

When you, as an individual, or as a group, give people help and they receive goods or service and care from you it often opens them up to listen to your message in return. In a sense this is an unwritten transactional normal human probability. 

Luke 10:25-29: On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’]” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Here is an example of the effectiveness of “Transactional Evangelism”: When I was a Director for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada spearheading the Celebration 2005 national initiative, we encouraged, trained and mobilized churches across our nation to pull together and bless their communities with actions as well as words. One church in Toronto decided to “adopt” a large subsidized housing project near their building as their mission. They started by approaching the superintendent of the building to ask how they could help him. He was shocked, as most churches impose their, already decided, program on others without asking. He listed a number of items where they could do with help as they did not have the budget for them: Clean up the unkept yard and remove all the needles and condoms left there, change lightbulbs in the hallways, smoke detector batteries etc. Some were big jobs. The church people gave up four Saturdays to go and serve, and, in the process, built relationships and gained trust. Seeing the help and great attitude of the volunteers week after week led the superintendent to invite the church to run a VBS on Saturdays in the lobby “to keep the kids busy and out of mischief” as the building had an abundance of children (many of those children came to Christ and, ultimately, the church provided a bus to bring them and their parents to Sunday services). My favourite story from this one initiative was from two of the volunteers, who, with permission, went door to door to see if anyone needed help with something practical. They found one lady who was totally stressed out as her husband had advanced ALS and her dryer had broken down so she could not keep her four, very active young children, in clean clothes. The Christians went straight to a used appliance store, bought and later installed a new dryer for her for free. Soon word spread through her to the whole building that “these are actually “real” Christians” and this was not just another “feel good photo op”. More doors were opened and, in the end, the church ran an ALPHA program in the building as well. It all started with what I call “Transactional Evangelism” – we serve seekers and God can open doors that we can walk through to tell the gospel message. The opportunities for “Transactional Evangelism “are everywhere, from helping a neighbour shovel her driveway, do yardwork, teach ESL, car repair for a single Mom…you get the idea… We can change the world one life at a time.

Jesus concludes the story in Luke 10:36-37 saying: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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Inspiring audiences to Action, Growth and Significance

Member of the Luis Palau Evangelists Network

Trainer for Billy Graham Canada