Witnessing Effectively in Public Places
1. In imitation of Christians in the first century, how are Christians today giving a witness in public places, and with what results?
1 Like Jesus’ early disciples, Christians today seek to share the good news with people wherever they can be found. (Acts 16:13; 17:17; 20:20, 21) As a result of their efforts to witness in public places, they are finding interest among people who might otherwise never have been contacted in the house-to-house ministry.
2. Why is discernment needed when witnessing in public places, and how can we contribute to good order?
2 Discernment is needed when witnessing publicly. Usually, it is best to work inconspicuously. For example, if too many publishers witness in the same area or visit the same businesses, some people may feel overwhelmed by our presence. This detracts from the dignity of our work and may limit our effectiveness. What can be done to prevent this from happening? Some congregations that have many areas for public witnessing have found it helpful to organize these into individual territories. (1 Cor. 14:40) In addition, we can contribute to good order by working only in our congregation’s assigned territory unless specific arrangements have been made through the Congregation Service Committee to assist another congregation.—See the November 1998 Our Kingdom Ministry, p. 6, pars. 18-19.
3. What approach have some found effective when witnessing in public places?
3 Approaching People: When Jesus spoke with a woman at a well, he started with a brief remark and progressively expanded the conversation as her interest became manifest. (John 4:7-26) This approach is also effective in certain settings today. Some publishers find that to get into the proper frame of mind for public witnessing, it is helpful to spend a few minutes greeting people and showing personal interest in them before presenting the Kingdom message. They comment on a topic of local interest, which often leads to a conversation. As others express their concerns, they listen carefully. Before long, they are sharing comfort from God’s Word.—Rom. 15:4.
4. How can we cultivate the interest we find?
4 Cultivating Interest: Each time we have a good discussion, we should try to make arrangements to cultivate the interest. How can we do this? As the discussion is coming to a close, you might take out your notebook and say: “I have enjoyed our conversation. Is there any way we can continue at another time?” Or say: “I would like you to read an article that I am sure will interest you. May I bring it to your home or office?” Some publishers simply ask: “At what number can you be reached?” This often elicits a favorable response.
5. What aim should we have when witnessing publicly?
5 Many people who were first contacted in public places have accepted Bible studies. Such studies can be conducted at the person’s home, at his place of employment, in an appropriate public setting, or by telephone. May we make it our aim to start Bible studies as we witness effectively in public places.