Jehovah’s Witnesses have been trained in how to present what they believe and answer common objections. In order to witness to them effectively, you need to make sure you are prepared as well.
Here are 4 important steps to take as you prepare to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
1. Pray earnestly.
When you share the gospel with someone in a works-salvation system, you are engaging in spiritual warfare. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit that has to get through to them because only God can impart spiritual understanding (Ephesians 1:16-19). It is not by our cleverness but by God’s Spirit that we are able to share the gospel effectively.
- Pray as you review the postings on this blog.
- Pray when you first see the Witnesses at your door.
- Pray silently while they are with you.
- Pray again after they leave.
- Pray as you study and prepare for the next meeting.
- Even continue to pray if they break off contact with you—pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work with them even if you can’t.
2. Establish safeguards before you get involved in ongoing Bible discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Don’t get overconfident and think that you know far too much about the Bible and about the Watchtower ever to get sucked in. Be sure to pray about how to proceed.
Have one or more trusted Christian friends debrief you after each session with the Witnesses to make sure you are not lapsing into the role of a passive student.
If anything the Witnesses say causes you to doubt your own beliefs, be open with your Christian friends about it and seek answers. Call off future meetings with the Witnesses until such time as you have clearly resolved any such issue in your own mind.
3. Focus on one topic at a time.
Christians who try to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses often make the mistake of trying to cover everything at the first encounter, as if they will only have one opportunity to get across all that they want to say. This doesn’t work.
In order to be effective, you will need to have a number of extended meetings with the Witnesses. This is not a problem. The Witnesses’ goal is not to convert you in one encounter on your doorstep. Rather, they will try to interest you in studying with them on a weekly basis over a period of several months. By agreeing to such an arrangement, you will have ample time to cover many subjects and to use several different approaches.
It is best to limit your discussions to one topic at a time. So, whenever you set up a further meeting with the Witnesses, settle beforehand what it is that you will be discussing. There is no set order that works best. In this blog, I will give you approaches that you can use for many of the subjects that are likely to arise.
Then, before you meet, study that subject thoroughly. Find the blog posts or other resources that explain what the Watchtower teaches about the subject and what Bible passages the Witnesses will use. Then look through the various approaches and select one to use in order to be prepared for your meeting. Jot down notes to have with you when you meet. Don’t have this blog or any other materials by Christians or ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses visible when the Witnesses are there. Doing so will only make it likely that they will call off any further meetings.
If you find you don’t have time to prepare adequately, postpone the meeting.
When you meet, stick to the subject you agreed to discuss. Don’t let the Witnesses switch to a topic for which you aren’t prepared. If at any time they try to do that, politely tell them that you will need more time to study your Bible in order to discuss that specific subject with them intelligently. If they insist on discussing a different topic, reschedule the meeting.
4. Define success appropriately.
It would be wonderful if you could lead every Jehovah’s Witnesses you meet to a saving knowledge of Christ, and you should pray for the salvation of each one you encounter. But there are no “can’t miss” approaches or techniques for leading anyone to Christ.
You don’t know if you will be planting the seed, watering seed planted by someone else, or reaping a spiritual harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6).
As with anyone, the Witnesses’ responses are beyond your control.
For these reasons, instead of defining success in terms of getting a favorable result, make it your objective to let the Holy Spirit present the gospel to them through you and leave the results to him.
(Adapted from my upcoming book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses)
Which of these points do you find the most helpful? Based on your own experience, are there any steps you would add to the list?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
Coming up next: Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses in Love: Build Bridges