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Vantage point

Anyone can do it

Soon after I got my first car, I affixed a bumper sticker to the glove compartment. It said something like, "Are you ready for heaven?" Excited about Jesus, I then proceeded to launch a ministry to hitchhikers. I would pick them up, be friendly and depend on the sticker staring at them to prompt a conversation. Many times riders would comment on it first; at other times, I brought their attention to it. Of course, the way I drove in those days gave my riders a tendency to think about the afterlife, so it was very effective.

I did this for years. I tried lots of other things, too. Door-to-door witnessing, beach witnessing, street evangelism … I even went into bars to witness. You do need to be careful about some of these situations, however. They can be misunderstood. I knew a pastor who received a call one night from one of his members, a woman with an unbelieving, alcoholic husband. "Pastor, he’s down at the bar again. Will you go and bring him home?" The minister dutifully complied but did not arrive until the man had drunk himself into a state of inebriation. With some difficulty the pastor got him to his feet, hooked the man’s arm over his shoulder and laboriously struggled toward the door.

Just as the two of them staggered out the bar door onto the street, one of the pastor’s board members drove by. The pastor had to explain that one to a full meeting of the board.

But the desire to witness should take us into some risky places. I do believe that the most effective way to witness is to be prepared and look for open doors. But I also believe that it is up to us at times to put ourselves where there are more opportunities for doors to open.

Witnessing is not a fearful, debilitating duty; it is an exciting, invigorating privilege. Our own fear is usually the hardest part about it. Once we begin to tell someone about Jesus, that load lifts; we realize what a wonderful thing it is.

Perhaps our biggest problem is a failure to walk in the Spirit. When we do this, witnessing is a snap. When we don’t, it’s labor … and we miss many opportunities we would have seen and taken had we been spiritually sensitive.

As a young man I discovered a terrific cure for the blues. When I felt depression or discouragement stealing over me, I would get in the car and go looking for someone to tell about Jesus. The act of witnessing was enough to break the despair.

This issue is about evangelism — the kinds of evangelism that anyone can do. Please read it with an open heart.

Ken Horn

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