Attending a “witnessing workshop” is not in most people’s comfort zone. And attending a witnessing workshop where everyone goes out witnessing at local “modern-day market places” that afternoon is about a mile out of most people’s comfort zone.
Evangelism is not a topic that appeals to our flesh. Far from a “clean family comedy” event, this event was more like planning “war strategies” – (war against lies and deception) … planning strategies that scare us because we know WE are the ones to be carrying them out… that very day.
Therefore, it’s a miracle from beginning to end for this conference to be a success.
We prayed that the Lord would bring those He wanted. Registrations were coming in very slowly. But they did come in, and the little church was filled with an energetic joy. Some emphasized to me, “We knew God wanted us here.” One family from Florida heard about the conference, found a great airline deal, and had their airline tickets bought–all in a 3-hour time frame. Wow – praise the Lord!
We were extremely encouraged by how we saw the Lord at work. We were thrilled that Dr. Jason Lisle was available to come and share two sessions. His talks on apologetics were fantastic. It was fun to see the audience captivated: laughing, learning, and asking questions.
I’ve heard Dr. Martin speak many, many times, but I think this was my very favorite. He shared practical advice on using tools (such as “Creation cards”) to engage the lost in conversation, and how to rejoice in rejection (Luke 6:22-23). He also shared a wealth of Biblical teaching on evangelism. Dr Martin speaks from much experience. Any who know the Martin family know that their whole lives are spent talking to people about the Lord Jesus!
Questions and Answers with Dr. Jason Lisle and Dr. Jobe Martin
One pressure that was weighing on me as we were planning the conference was Where are we going to send everyone to witness when we go out Saturday afternoon? Since I’m not from Dallas, I wasn’t sure which locations were best. But the Lord provided in a wonderful way: Mr. Noland, not knowing about this need, came over to the church a day before the conference (while Sarah was teaching the Bright Lights Leader’s Training that his daughter was attending). When he learned of this need, he offered to help, and he picked out five good locations for witnessing. Not only that, he also printed maps to each location. What a relief this was to me and my dad as we were using every minute we could to finish planning everything else!
Around 4pm Saturday afternoon we divided into about 5 father-led teams of about 20 per team.
After a couple of hours we came back to the church to share stories of what we saw God do!
Often we’re afraid to witness because we leave God out of the equation. We forget that the miracle-working God is alive and strong! But when we step out in obedience to tell people about Jesus, asking Him to give opportunities, what do you think He does? He answers those prayers big time! That doesn’t mean everyone we share with falls on their knees repenting (He’s already told us that won’t be the case). But we see HIM blessing our efforts, arranging conversations, and working in lives…
Many who attended the witnessing conference had not done evangelism in this form before (in public places, shopping areas, etc.) and I was praying they’d have a good first experience. Praise God, we heard story after story of wonderful conversations that the Lord arranged.
We had over 100 people out there sharing the gospel! Who knows how many unbelievers had a positive face-to-face loving encounter with a Christian about spiritual matters that afternoon?! What an encouraging thought that is. Just two hours with a group of 100 believers scattered around Dallas and so much can be accomplished!
I believe hearing these stories was a highlight for everyone.
When young people get on fire for witnessing, what an awesome path they have ahead. As they use their youth to do the most important work in the universe, they actually have more fulfillment and more excitement than all others. It’s a much richer life living for the One who died for us. And they’re an example to the believers (1 Tim 4:12). One friend of mine, Charis, 14, told me of a conversation she had with some other junior high girls about “what happens when we die.” Charis’ dad told me he was shocked by her boldness. I was so encouraged by her courage and growth!
As stories were told, Sarah and I wrote down a summary of each story shared on the whiteboard so we could remember to keep praying for those we talked to.
Abby sharing about a witnessing conversation
We’re extremely grateful to Lalo for all he arranged to make this conference happen. He has been a wonderful friend to our family, along with Dara and their adorable children.