RIDGECREST, N.C.(BP)–Bill Fay knows a thing or two about rejecting Christ.
Arrested for running a swanky house of prostitution, divorced three times and married four, a gambler, a card shark and a dabbler in the Mafia, Fay told God to get lost more than a few times.
But when his life bottomed out after a second arrest, and suicide or alcohol and drugs looked like the only escape, Fay finally did accept Christ in 1981.
“The power of the gospel is evident in me, and it is only fair that others hear about it. If it can work for me, it can work for anybody, and I have made it my life’s work to share him with others,” Fay said.
Fay, now a staff evangelist for Riverside Baptist Church, Denver, and a chaplain for Denver-area athletic clubs and police departments, conducts seminars across the country teaching Christians how to share their faith with others without being intimidated.
In fact, he believes personal witnessing can be so fear-free he has written a resource telling others how to do it. Fay taught the workbook, “Sharing Jesus Without Fear,” at Discipleship and Family Development Week at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Center, July 5-11.
In “Share Jesus Without Fear,” Fay outlines a three-step strategy he uses in witnessing, including the approach (determining the other person’s spiritual condition), the Bible (asking the person to read several key verses) and the close (summarizing the verses and calling for a decision).
“It’s normal to chicken out when you want to share your faith. It can be a difficult thing to do, but it doesn’t have to be,” he said.
Fay said Christians who want to tell another person about Jesus usually stop short because they are afraid of rejection and failure.
“Christians think (the lost person) is rejecting them, but really they are rejecting Jesus instead,” Fay said. “We must always remember, it is the gospel people are rejecting, not us.”
He said Christians must think about witnessing with the proper attitude. “We need to get away from the ‘we’re winning them’ idea and realize it is the Lord who is winning them.”
In the first or “approach” phase of Fay’s plan for sharing Christ with others, he asks five questions to determine a person’s spiritual condition.
“Asking questions puts you in control,” Fay said, “but no matter what they answer, you can only nod. You have to listen to them. You’ll want to jump in and respond, but don’t.”
The questions Fay asks are:
1) Do you have any kind of spiritual belief? “The question doesn’t ask, ‘Do you believe in God?’ so there is not much risk of getting a ‘none of your business’ response.”
2) To you, who is Jesus? “Listen carefully to this answer. It can tell you about their relationship with Jesus.”
3) Do you think there is a heaven and a hell? “This is an intellectual problem that is safe.”
4) If you died right now, where would you go? “If people answer, ‘heaven,’ ask ‘why?’ If they say, ‘I don’t know,’ ask the next question.”
5) If what you believe were not true, would you want to know it?
“If they say ‘yes,’ you go on. If they say ‘no,’ you stop,” Fay said. “Almost every time you stop, the person will say, ‘Well, aren’t’ you going to tell me?’ But if you get a no that sticks, it’s not your problem, it’s God’s.”
Fay said in the years he has been asking these questions, he has received almost “zero resistance” from people. It is when he moves to the Bible phase of his witnessing strategy that a person might become uncomfortable, he said.
For this reason, he suggests Christians carry a “Derringer” or small pocket Bible, and refrain from using their “big boom” or church Bible in public places.
In his second phase of witnessing, Fay asks the person to read several Bible verses out loud. The verses he most uses, in the following order, are Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 3:3; John 14:6; Romans 10: 9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; and Revelation 3:20. After the person reads the verse out loud, Fay then asks what the verse means to the person.
“If they say they don’t know, I ask them to read it again out loud. I ask them until they can give me an answer. I try to give the Holy Spirit time to convict and convince.”
The close, or the final stage in Fay’s witnessing strategy, “is the part that many of us fear most,” he acknowledged. Again, he will ask five questions.
1) Are you a sinner?
2) Do you want forgiveness of your sins?
3) Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for you and rose again?
4) Are you willing to surrender yourself to Jesus Christ?
5) Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life and into your heart?
After asking these questions, Fay said, “Then it is time to be silent and pray and let the Holy Spirit do his work.”
The resource, “Sharing Jesus without Fear,” is expected to be released in November 1997. It offers Christians specific advice on dealing with objections or questions that might be difficult to answer. Discipleship and Family Development Week is sponsored by the Baptist Sunday School Board.