After His resurrection, Jesus gathered His disciples and gave them their mission: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). Christians aren’t just called to be disciples. They are also called to lead others to become disciples. Sometimes modern believers struggle in this area. To overcome this tendency, I believe it is helpful to think about our circles of influence. All of us live, relate, and spend time in different places. By being aware of these different domains, we can gain a sensitivity to our opportunities for witnessing.
It is amongst our immediate and extended family that we should first look for opportunities to share. After becoming a Christ-follower, Andrew witnessed to his relatives. John’s gospel says, “He first found his own brother Simon” (John 1:41). Notice the word “first” in that verse. Family was a priority for Andrew. Do you have any non-Christian family members — an uncle, aunt, grandparent, sibling, cousin, or parent who doesn’t know Jesus? Pray for them, show them the love of Jesus, and look for opportunities to share the gospel. Many will admit that it is hardest to witness to family members. That’s true, but think about this — if we can witness to our family, we can likely witness to anyone!
Unless you live on a large piece of land in a remote location, you probably have neighbors to whom you can witness. Remember, Scripture commands us to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31). When Jesus led a Samaritan woman to faith, she instantly began to tell the people in her community about her experience, saying, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29). You can witness to your neighbors. Check on them every once in a while, host them in your home, and give them baked goods on special occasions. Love them and shine the light of Jesus!
Many of us spend most of our waking hours at a place of employment. I recently read that the average American spends over 90,000 hours at work during his or her lifetime! What an opportunity to be an influencer for Jesus! May we be committed to living exemplary lives and to explaining the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15)!
Nearly every day, most of us frequent various places of business —restaurants, shopping centers, supermarkets, banks, beauty salons, and barber shops. If we would regard such routine visits as opportunities for evangelism, we would likely see a harvest. When Paul visited first century Athens, he saw the handcrafted idols in the marketplace, but he saw a whole lot more. He saw an opportunity to witness (Acts 16:16-21)! Approach your daily activities with gospel glasses and the Lord will use you!
Some of us are a part of clubs and civic organizations. Others have kids in little league or dance. Let’s see these activities as opportunities to be salt for Jesus (Matthew 5:13). When Jesus healed a demon possessed man near Decapolis, the man couldn’t help but tell everyone about the Lord (Mark 5:20). Because of his witness, many were influenced for good (Mark 7:32). May the Lord use us in a similar way!
Dr. Patrick Latham