38 InternetA fruitful area for expanding your witnessing opportunities to Jehovah’s Witnesses is internet outreach.

Social media such as Facebook have online discussion groups involving Witnesses and ex-Witnesses. In addition, there are now support groups online for ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses and for current Jehovah’s Witnesses who suspect something is wrong with the Watchtower and are looking for answers.

These are good places to learn about how Jehovah’s Witnesses think and feel and read about people’s struggles within the Watchtower organization.

The largest of these sites is called JWN.

In that—as well as in many other forums—posting is done by username rather than actual names in order to preserve anonymity.

Forum members may or may not still believe in God. Many of them have been turned off by religion and don’t welcome people trying to witness to them.

Of course, this is their right.

Some sites have rules against evangelizing in your postings. However, there are people on such forums who are looking for a Christian alternative to the Watchtower. Perhaps they have never heard a good explanation or good defense of Christian teachings.

You can usually stay within the rules by using the private messaging capability of such forums. If you see postings from a person who indicates faith in God or from a person who admits that they are struggling with what to believe, you can send them a private message, tell them you believe in God and Christ, and offer to dialogue with them if they are interested.

If they say they aren’t interested, stop.

Let those who are willing to talk set the agenda. Maybe all they want is to find a listening ear. That’s fine. Be that listening ear.

Show them genuine Christian love. It often helps to assure them that you are not trying to get them to join some other religious organization.

Before you initiate private online discussion of a topic you know is likely to be controversial with Watchtower-trained correspondents—issues like the Trinity or Hell, for example—first ask them if they really want to get into that particular subject with you. Let them know that if they don’t want to discuss a particular issue, you will honor their wishes.

Some of my online correspondents have expressed interest in visiting churches in their area and have asked me for my thoughts on where to look.

Since you won’t be able to attend alongside them, I recommend that you tell them that before they try out churches they should study the Bible and decide what they are going to believe or at least what ideas they are willing to consider. Also explain to them the negative triggers they are likely to encounter at a church because of Watchtower indoctrination about all the “pagan” doctrines and practices of “Christendom”—calling Jesus “God,” praying to him, displaying crosses, passing collection plates, displaying a flag, and the like. Offer to help them work through those issues.

Make sure they understand that the key to salvation is not finding the “right” organization but coming to Jesus himself.

I recommend that you have them read John 5:39-40 and John 6:67-68.

Tell them, “Jehovah’s real arrangement for salvation is that we come to Jesus and rely on him, not that we place our trust in any organization run by fallible men.”

If they are receptive, consider expanding your comments to include more of “The Come to Jesus Approach” from my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways.

If they decide to proceed to check out churches, explain to them how to obtain doctrinal statements in advance online from those institutions.

Follow up with them after their visit to see what they thought and clear up any misconceptions.