Witnessing: Equipping Christians and churches to share Jesus
On Feb. 8 at Asbury University in Kentucky, a handful of students stayed late after the chapel service – and then simply didn’t leave.
Over the next several hours, other students joined them, singing hymns, praying and embracing each other. Some of the students began spontaneously confessing sin publicly. Hours stretched into a day, then a week, then into two weeks. It is estimated that at least 50,000 students came from over 250 colleges and universities to participate in the extraordinary happenings at Asbury. Subsequently, similar students worship gatherings spontaneously broke out at scores of other college campuses across America. Asbury administrators officially ended the revival services on Feb. 23.
Just one day later — some would say providentially — on Feb. 24, the film “Jesus Revolution” opened in theaters nationwide. Despite being screened in roughly half the number of theaters as the average opening Hollywood movie, “Jesus Revolution” more than doubled its projected revenue, generating just over $15.5 million in box office revenues. This revenue performance earned the film the No. 3 spot in the U.S. box office ratings for that week.
The movie “Jesus Revolution” tells the story of the revival that took place in the U.S. with the Jesus Movement of the late '60s and early '70s, led by Pastor Chuck Smith and hippies who had become Christians and created a movement that ignited perhaps the greatest major revival and spiritual awakening in North America for at least a century.
I pastored in the French Quarter ministering to “Jesus Freaks” who were produced by the Jesus Revolution in the early 1970s.
The tremendous interest in, and response to, the “Asbury Revival” coupled with the public response to the “Jesus Revolution” indicate American Christianity’s intense fascination with and deep hunger for spiritual awakening and revival. I have felt it and I have observed it in my fellow Christians, even if some of them are not yet fully aware of it.
I believe that this hunger is evidenced by the common phenomenon of people joining rapidly growing churches as they sense God’s presence and spiritual activity. When Christians sense God is moving, Christians show up and want to get involved, “Thinking, maybe this is it! The fresh wind we’ve been praying for so earnestly.”
Mankind hasn’t changed over the years. Just as depicted in “Jesus Revolution,” humanity is desperately searching for what Christians know can only ultimately be found in a personal relationship with Jesus. In Romans 10:14, the Apostle Paul inquires, “And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a messenger?”
Revival tarried because Christians were not leaving the church to tell people about Jesus and those seeking Jesus were too often not welcomed in the church. As a consequence, many continued searching for love, purpose and belonging, everywhere but the one place it could be found, in the Person and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
During my entire adult ministry (I began preaching at 16 years of age, 60 years ago this summer), I have observed that most Evangelical Christians want to witness and feel guilty about not doing so on a consistent basis.
A 2022 LifeWay Research Study confirmed this when they found that the vast majority of unbelievers (73%) are willing to talk to complete strangers about God and faith. This would be very encouraging news if it weren’t for the fact that only about 1% of believers are willing to actually talk to someone they didn’t know about Jesus.
Given the fact that so many American Christians are so yearning for revival and awakening and the unchurched are so willing to listen to Christian witness, one major answer would be to train and equip Christians to fulfill their Christian duty by sharing their faith with other unchurched neighbors and fellow citizens.
The people of God need to fall on their faces before their Heavenly Father and confess complacency and apathy toward evangelism. When God’s people begin to align their vision with the God of the universe, who loved mankind so unselfishly that He was willing to die for it, a fresh wind and fire begin to take root. Christians begin to see unbelievers the way God does, and a genuine burden for the lost is found.
True revival, however, cannot be contained in a church building. For it to be truly a revival and an awakening, it must spill into the streets in the form of evangelism. This is a primary part of God’s plan for changing the world.
Acts 1:8 tells us, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We are His witnesses whether we like it or not and God does expect those who follow Him to share their faith. This may seem frightening or intimidating until we remember it is not through our own power but the power of the Holy Spirit that genuine evangelism takes place.
It has been a continuing source of frustration to me and many other pastors that various denominations and parachurch organizations have not produced more effective materials to equip Christians to fulfill their Gospel responsibilities.
Once again, my experience has been that most Christians know they should witness and desire to, but are terrified they are going to be asked questions they cannot answer.
Now I have encountered a program that goes a long way in meeting those compelling needs within our Christian churches.
ShareTheTruthNow.com now exists as an answer to multitudes of prayers by Christian ministers and church leaders. It is a free website that gives Jesus followers the exact tools and information needed to ignite a revival — not just yearn for one.
ShareTheTruthNow.com highlights broadcasts and interviews with some of the most well-equipped Christian voices that help believers approach evangelism with a sense of immediacy and purpose. They also offer 100% free business-size Share The Truth Cards to hand out to unbelievers. The back of this card has a website with free video answers to life’s hard questions as well as a solid Gospel presentation. People will no longer have to fear the questions that someone might ask because the website on the back of the card has the answers to virtually every question anyone might ask!
ShareTheTruthNow.com even helps you know what to say when handing out a card. All that is required is filling out a simple form and ShareTheTruthNow.com also provides a way for you to easily film your “Jesus Story” (personal testimony) with your smartphone or computer webcam. They also provide quick and simple tips on how to tell your story of “what Jesus did for me.” Then a website is generated that you can share with friends on social media.
The website explains how you can connect your church profile so people can be invited to your church! You can use your own custom URL and QR code to share your “Jesus Story” in person, via email, text, or on social media.
You can also download a free e-book called Evangelism Boot Camp (EBC) which is free, comprehensive, evangelism training designed to help you become confident and comfortable sharing your faith in any circumstance. EBC will teach you how to share a complete Gospel presentation, with even more specific training on how to share Jesus with a Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon, a Muslim, and many more.
Josh McDowell has endorsed Evangelism Boot Camp
“As the most comprehensive, powerful, and easy evangelism strategy available to the churches today. You may have felt that sharing your faith and doing your part in fulfilling the Great Commission was out of reach for you, but after you complete Evangelism Boot Camp you’ll never feel that way again.”
It is the best evangelism and witnessing training manual I have yet encountered.
Very importantly, you can also get your entire church involved in the witnessing effort. There is a section of ShareTheTruthNow.com where you can share with your local church pastor, to get your church involved on a larger scale. Whether or not that happens, you can get involved right now, by ordering your free ShareTheTruthNow.com cards, and uploading and sharing your “Jesus Story” online immediately.
The great news is that ShareTheTruthNow.com has removed every excuse that can be given for not getting involved with hands-on evangelism. Real people are really dying and really going to a real hell every day. For our culture to change, revival must break out of the walls of the church and penetrate the dying world around us. We must be willing and eager to Share The Truth Now with the lost who are open to having conversations with us about Jesus.
I firmly believe that another Great Awakening can happen in our time. As a country America is overdue.
Awakening can happen. The stage is set, but the revival does not depend on your church or your pastor, or the person sitting next to you in the pew at your church.
This revival can begin right now. And with the Holy Spirit’s blessing, it can start with you.