There are a number of situations in which you can engage in Bible discussions with Jehovah’s Witnesses even if you’ve had no previous contact with them.
Street work (pp. 300-301)
Sometimes you will encounter Jehovah’s Witnesses who are handing out magazines on street corners in urban areas. They may have literature carts set up in various locations. If you want to expand your witnessing opportunities, go over and talk with them.
If you strike up a conversation with them, you may be able to set up a series of meetings with them—if not in your home, then perhaps in a public place such as a nearby coffee shop or restaurant. Even if arranging for such meetings isn’t possible, you don’t have to bypass them. You can plant some gospel seeds in the course of one brief dialogue.
If you know you will be encountering Witnesses who are involved in street ministry, you can prepare one of the approaches—perhaps “The Come to Jesus Approach” approach or “The Faith and Works Approach.” Select one aspect of the approach to concentrate on and focus on planting a seed.
Internet outreach (pp. 301-303)
Another fruitful area for expanding your witnessing opportunities 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.
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, 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 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.
Going to a Kingdom Hall (pp. 303-304)
If you become proficient at witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses, you might consider attending some meetings at one of their Kingdom Halls.
First, be sure to establish safeguards of accountability with trusted Christian friends to make sure you aren’t getting drawn into the Watchtower religion.
Second, the best time to go is to their annual Memorial. This is their version of communion, and it takes place near Easter. They always make a big push to get outsiders to attend.
Third, realize that you will probably only get a chance to develop a personal witnessing opportunity with one or two Witnesses.
Conclusion (p. 305)
Please consider expanding your witnessing opportunities. You may be the only Christian in the area who understands Jehovah’s Witnesses and reaches out to them. Don’t assume that any Jehovah’s Witness is unreachable. Even high ranking Witnesses have left the Watchtower and come to Christ.
Prepare well. Pray. Step out in faith and see what God will do.
What are you willing to do in reaching out to Witnesses who are strangers to you?
- Share the gospel with Witnesses who are doing street corner witnessing? (pp. 300-301)
- Talk with Jehovah’s Witnesses and ex-Witnesses on an internet chat forum? (pp. 301-303)
- Go to a Kingdom Hall event and connect with a Jehovah’s Witness with whom you can share the gospel? (pp. 303-304)