This is an adapted excerpt from Connected to Christ: Witnessing in Everyday Life by Mark A. Wood.
There is so much to say about Jesus that it can be hard to find a place to start. But because there is so much to say about Jesus, there’s something in Jesus’ story to share with everyone. You can be confident that there is something in Jesus’ story that relates to the person you are conversing with because Jesus’ story connects to every human being. Your challenge as His witness is to determine something to share that is meaningful for and interesting to the other person. You can do that by seeking out a point of connection between Jesus’ story and the other person’s story.
Planting through a Point of Connection
It’s very important to recognize that the point of connection you are looking for is not how you are connected to the person, but it is something in her life that connects her story and Jesus’ story. That connection may not be something that you have in common with the other person. That’s okay. It still provides a way for you to continue the conversation and to make that conversation about Jesus.
We discover points of connection with Jesus’ story when people relate positive or negative life events, express concerns, share a need, state a doubt, explain a worldview, or tell us about experiencing a loss. It is likely that the person you are engaging has multiple points of connection with Jesus’ story.
Finding a point of connection comes from listening to the other person share his story. As you listen to him and ask good questions, you will learn more about him and his interests, likes, dislikes, fears, concerns, and hopes. It’s in these things that you will discover a starting point for speaking about Jesus in a way that connects with him.
Planting God’s Word Is Sharing Jesus’ Story
There are many things that we can share with lost people, but there is only one thing we can share that will change a person from spiritually dead to spiritually alive. Not even the most convincing human argument nor the strongest worldly consolation nor the grandest undertaking of mankind can do this. Only the Word of Christ can bring life to those who are dead in their trespasses and sins. It is the only thing we have to share that can and does change people’s hearts. Sharing His Word with people is our goal and our desire as His witnesses.
Sharing God’s Word with people involves more than spouting off a bunch of Bible passages like some kind of “robo-witness” or handing a person some printed material and hoping that he’ll read it. Sharing God’s Word effectively involves listening, asking, and looking for a point of connection in order to understand which passages of the Bible are most applicable to the person and how best to share them with her. It always means speaking the truth in love—including sharing God’s Law in love! It often means that we need to craft a story that the person can understand and relate to. When we do, we need to be careful to avoid making witness- ing about sharing “my story.”
Getting to Jesus' Story
A persistent bad idea about witnessing is that witnessing is telling other people “what God has done for me”—in other words, to tell people “my story.” I consider this a bad idea because it makes witnessing about me. Your story may be very interesting and compelling, especially if you lived an open and active sinful life before coming to faith in Jesus. On the other hand, your story may be rather ordinary. Like many Christians, you may have been born into a family with faithful parents who brought you to the waters of Holy Baptism when you were an infant, and there’s never been a time in your life when you didn’t know Jesus. Either way, your story isn’t going to save anyone. There’s only one saving story: Jesus’ story.
When we share a story as witnesses, we need to share Jesus’ story. Sometimes telling “my story” is a great way to get to Jesus’ story. Sometimes it just gets in the way of His story. Sharing “my story” is optional. Sharing Jesus’ story is essential. As a faithful witness, strive to keep things about Jesus by sharing His story.
Walk together to find a new definition of witnessing with the help of the Holy Spirit.