Can God use shy people to boldly proclaim the Gospel? You might not think so, but consider this account from Dr. Roger Ferguson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Owasso, Oklahoma.
I continue to marvel how God uses people who make themselves available to Him. Jackie is that kind of person. She is shy by nature, yet she dared to believe God could use her to share the Gospel.
One night in FAITH evangelism training we went to share with a couple that had visited the church. We saw from the license plates on their cars they were from California. This "20-something" couple moved here from Redondo Beach to open an office for his company. We saw their surfboards and knew they were experiencing "culture shock" after moving to Oklahoma.
The conversation turned to spiritual things, and I asked them, "In your personal opinion, what do you think it takes for a person to go to heaven?" The wife gave a faith answer, but the husband was trusting that God knew he was a "good guy."
They gave us permission to relate how the Bible explained the way to heaven. Jackie blushed, cleared her throat, and shared the outline she was learning. She stumbled a couple of times but eventually finished and looked back at me as if to say, "What do I do now?!" Jackie slumped into the couch, wanting to hide.
I asked the man if he understood what Jackie said. He did. We clarified a couple of points, then he indicated he wanted to trust Jesus Christ "right here and right now." When he said that, Jackie popped up like a turtle's head emerging from its shell and exclaimed, "You do?!" I have since nicknamed her "The Turtle."
You know what I love about shy people like Jackie? They dare to believe God can use even a bashful person to share the life-changing message of Jesus. She learned how to share and she prayed. She got out of her comfort zone, shared Christ for the first time, and a man was miraculously born again.
When people are baptized in our church I ask family members, and those who had a part in the candidate coming to Christ, to stand as a silent affirmation of God's grace in the life of the one being baptized.
When Mike from California was baptized, Jackie stood up along with the man's wife. This time she stood straight and tall in support of Mike and in honor of Jesus.
You may be naturally shy. God is in the business of taking shy people and using them to share the greatest story ever told…the story of Jesus through an evangelism tool. Don't believe me — ask Jackie.
Better yet, ask Mike. He and his wife are so thrilled with what God is doing in the family that they signed up for the next semester so they can learn to share their faith. Mike told me, "Pastor Roger, I'm really introverted. Can God use me?" I responded, "You bet! Just ask Jackie!"
This is not about one particular evangelism strategy; it's about the importance and the necessity of all evangelism training strategies.
It's about why I keep emphasizing the "shy person" stories. Satan uses this stronghold in our lives to tell us that we just cannot do that — go up and talk to someone about Jesus. Not me, that's not my personality. But story after story, from every part of the country, we hear how God gives victory when we step out trembling and in faith to learn now to share. It's all about learning what to say and, in the beginning, having someone there to help you through it and give you encouragement and confidence.
Pastors, give your people the greatest tool — teaching them to be soul winners. They know they need to share with a family member or a friend at work but they're afraid of failure. Training prevents that failure. I heard a cute saying: "Proper prior planning prevents pitiful poor performance."
I would add "prior planning and teaching," but it doesn't start with "P."
God bless you as you go out into the highways and byways of life telling all you come in contact with the glorious mysteries of His riches, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory!