When You Feel like a Failure at Witnessing

Gerry Kraft /Tuesday, January 26, 2021


“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

In his parting words, Jesus commissioned his disciples to be his witnesses. These were his last instructions, so they must be of critical importance. We are witnesses for Jesus through our words, actions, and attitudes. 

Do you ever feel like me? I know what I am supposed to do, but sometimes I feel guilty for not doing it well.  

I suggest that most often, when we feel like we have failed, it is because we do not know where to start. Witnessing doesn’t have to be hard, here are a few suggestions we can consider.

1. Be Aware

Be aware of what is going on around you. There is a right and wrong time to share. For example, I heard of a situation where someone had just lost a loved one and a well-meaning Christian thought it appropriate to share the 4 spiritual laws. Wrong. At that time, you want to listen and learn before you help. And perhaps share a prayer. The right time is when the Holy Spirit opens the door. It usually comes when you have shown interest in the other person.

2. Share your Story

You do not have to be a Bible expert. You do need a heart for others and a willingness to share about the personal relationship you have with the Lord. How Jesus has brought meaning to your life? Or how does He fill your life with joy? Remember it is your story, you won’t make a mistake if what you share is authentic and motivated by a desire to share God’s love.

3. Pray

Pray daily that God will give you spiritual eyes to see someone in need. This morning, my wife asked me what I was going to do today and I said “I do not know yet, I am waiting for the Lord to lead me.” It was not long before I knew that I needed to go and see a friend.

Starting Purposeful Conversations

  • Show interest in lives of other people. Ask questions and learn where a person is in life. Are they facing struggles right now? 
  • The first step might be to ask that person if you could pray for them. If yes, it could mean right now, or it might mean later on in private. 
  • Follow up with them by letting them know you have been praying for them. Ask how things have been going? 
  • Listen carefully to make sure you understand what is being said. When appropriate you can suggest that God loves them and has answers to their struggles. 
  • This would be an appropriate time to share your story and then go on from there.

An Everyday Story

In a restaurant, I noticed a young woman who had tattoos up and down her arm. I asked if I could see them and she was quite proud to show them to me. I have learned there is usually a story behind tattoos. She shared that one of them represented someone she had recently lost in her family. After hearing how broken she was, I asked if I could pray for her. She had another table asking for her and she said she would be right back. I didn’t know if she would come back so I prayed silently for her. To my surprise, she came back and asked if she could sit down and chat. She was open to me praying with her right there in the restaurant in front of all the other people.  We prayed, exchanged emails and then I left.

Teardrop tattoos on the face of this young woman made me sad so I asked about them. She responded that she had not had a happy day in her life, and they were to represent that feeling to the world. That conversation opened the door to share immediately about God’s love for her and that He had a plan to give her peace and joy through having a personal relationship with Him. God opened the door and all I had to do was walk in and share.

Another Everyday Story

I had recently been to the Mayo Clinic for treatment when a neighbour shared with me that he had some health issues. I said I would pray for him and then checked in with him over the next couple of weeks. I got a call from someone I did not know who introduced himself as this person's brother-in-law. He thanked me for praying for my neighbour and went on to say how much it meant to him. He also shared that no one had ever offered to pray for anyone in their family before. He asked if I would keep it up. 

Later I was asked if I would take my friend to the Mayo Clinic and help him get started there. I did, and it gave me several hours to talk about the Lord and how important it was to have a personal relationship with Him. Our relationship continues and now, two years later, two family members have given their lives to Jesus!

What about Results?

Jesus asked us to be his witnesses, the results are up to him. We are just asked to be faithful in representing him and his love to others. 

Being result-oriented can be discouraging if we feel like we are responsible to bring someone to a full commitment of their life to Christ. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are called to plant seeds – share our faith and love for the Lord Jesus and what he has done for us. 

Find joy by submitting every day to the Lord and anticipating what He has planned for you. 

Each day brings new and exciting opportunities to share His love.  

Never give up, it is never too late. I find no greater joy than being able to share the Love of God with others. I hope you feel the same.

Dr. Gerry Kraft is one of the co-founders of Outreach Canada and the former Executive Director. Gerry is still helping to provide leadership and provides loving care to many OC supporters. When Gerry was a kid, he wanted to be a big truck driver. Now, if Gerry had a free afternoon, you’d probably find him fishing!





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