Resolutions for a New Year
Are you like many or most of us Christ-followers—know you need to tell your friends and relatives about Jesus, but hesitate to initiate the witness? Maybe some New Year’s resolutions would help.
So what if only about 46 per cent of resolution makers stick to their resolutions six months into the year, according to one recent study. Even that success rate is better than nothing—better than not resolving to share the good news with people in our lives who need to hear it.
What Dr. John Northcross, a clinical psychologist, discovered was impressive: 46 percent of resolution-makers successfully worked toward their goal, while only 4 percent of those who didn’t make a resolution saw their desired outcome become a reality six months later.
So, it’s better to “resolve” than not to resolve. Here are five evangelism resolutions for you to consider:
1. Resolve to: Pray for opportunities to witness.
The Apostle Paul certainly believed in praying for “open doors” to the share the gospel message.
Colossians 4:3 (NIV)
3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
And while you are praying for opportunities, also pray that God will help you share the message clearly and boldly, as we should.
Colossians 4:4 (NIV)
3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
Ephesians 6:19-20 (NIV)
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
A good way to “seal” your resolution is to use an E-List card. You can use a plain index card or order some E-List (E = evangelism) and D-List (D = discipleship) two-sided cards from Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship. Just prayerfully make a list of some people that you want to witness to in the coming year. Stick the card in your Bible or some other location where you will see it daily.
Learn more about using E & D list cards:
2. Resolve to: Initiate conversations with a prayer that they may develop into redemptive relationships.
Open doors for a gospel witness generally come through conversations. And even the most casual and non-spiritual conversations often present natural “entry points” into deeper levels of conversation, even openings that invite you to safely probe more deeply into gospel-related topics. For example:
Friend: “The church that my parents attend....” You: “So, your parents are religious people. Did you grow up going to church?”
Friend: “There are a lot of bad people in the world.” You: “Did you ever think about why that is true – why people tend to be bad?”
Friend: “I saw this amazing sunset last night.” You: “Yes, there’s so much beauty in nature – did you ever think about how it all got here?”
Sometimes these “entry points” go nowhere and other times they open into life-changing spiritual discussions and redemptive relationships.
3. Resolve to: Share your faith story.
One of the “safest,” but most effective ways to share the good news of Jesus Christ is through your own personal faith story—the story of what God has done in your life through your personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. You will feel more comfortable and confident with your faith story, if you “craft” it ahead of time and practice it with someone who will give you candid constructive (but kind and caring) feedback. Here are a couple of articles that will help you with preparing your faith story:
Sharing the Gospel Through Your Faith Story, Part 1
Sharing the Gospel Through Your Faith Story, Part 2
Maybe you could resolve to share your faith story x-number of times in the coming year and start with a realistic goal.
4. Resolve to: Lead an evangelistic Bible study.
Some resolutions depend on the willingness of other people. But, that shouldn’t stop us from resolving to try. Wouldn’t it be exciting to lead a non-Christian friend through an evangelistic Bible study sometime in the next year? It might be a simple one-person study or a group study. But there are not many things more exciting than to see the “lights come on” in the eyes of a person who is beginning to understand the BIG story of the Bible and its implications for him or her.
The Story of Hope and its FREE accompanying Leader’s Guide make it easy to lead evangelistic Bible studies. Download the FREE Leader’s Guide and order a couple of copies of The Story of Hope and we think you will feel more confident with a resolution to lead an evangelistic Bible study.
5. Resolve to: Get some training in how to turn these other resolutions into realities.
You will be more likely to follow through on your evangelism resolutions if you are properly equipped to do so. While nothing is better training-wise than live in-class interactive training, a quick and easy way to get started is through what we call “Good Soil evangelism and discipleship training in a book”—Gaining Ground with Good Soil.
The Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Basic Seminar is offered in May and October near Harrisburg, PA. Check it out!