Sometimes our attempts at witnessing don't go the way we would expect — or like. But that doesn't relieve us of the responsibility to present the Gospel, does it? And God is always faithful, as you will see in this testimony from Jay Smith, a member of First Baptist Naples, Florida, where Hayes Wicker is pastor.
Two years ago, I was listening to FAITH testimonies at a church banquet. Our daughter Madison was already involved in this evangelism strategy, so we felt obligated to come and support our daughter and investigate this approach to evangelism — and because our evangelism pastor, Greg Davidson, had invited me and my wife, Cristie, to the banquet.
Not knowing what God had in store for me that particular night, Bobby Welch spoke and he challenged us, stating that it was time for us to "put up or shut up!" It was like he was speaking directly at me, and I started to squirm in my seat! I knew that I had "shut up" long enough, and it was definitely time for me to "put up."
My first semester, I was a learner under the guidance of Patsy. Through her leadership and the training sessions, I was feeling more and more comfortable and confident each week. By the end of the first semester, I knew that I wanted to be a leader. I knew very little Scripture and had even less experience sharing my faith. I won't sugar coat it and say I wasn't nervous or there weren't bumps in the road along the way, but God always provided the words.
I would like to share one particular visitation evening.
As God would have it, I was paired that night with Patsy again and another learner. We were in a family-style community and we approached one particular home. We were not well received. As we turned to leave, the door flew open and a woman shouted that we were trespassing and she was calling the police. We apologized, saying that we would pray for her. She then shouted, "DO NOT PRAY FOR ME! You are Satan! You are the devil!"
I could only look at the others and smile and say, "Wow, I've been called a lot of things, but never that!"
Now, should we have packed it up and called it a night? That's exactly what Satan wanted us to do, but as is God's plan, when one door closes, another will open. Trust me, most people like for you to stop by and offer to pray for any needs they might have, invite them to church, and let them know someone cares about them. So, we pressed on.
Continuing, we noticed a home that had Indiana plates on their vehicle. I said, "This can't be all bad," being a Hoosier myself. Plus, it said on the plate: "In God We Trust."
To make a long story short, we were able to present the Gospel to a couple, and they prayed to receive Christ as their Savior. They have since joined our church and followed through in believer's baptism!
As a long-time athlete and coach, I would call that a touchdown for God. Games and championships are won and lost, but you don't always remember the details. And as I relate this, I can honestly say I don't even remember what I said, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, the words came and God used us. That's all He asks of any of us: to be willing, to be available, and to be used.
When a soul is led to salvation, that's ETERNAL!
Remember, Philippians 4:13 says, I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
God doesn't hold us responsible for the results, only for our obedience. The evangelism tool that you use isn't nearly as important as your faithfulness to proclaim the Gospel. And when we are faithful, we get a front row seat to see God work in a mighty way. May we all be obedient!