“Soft” Witnessing Techniques


We can break witnessing techniques into two basic areas: hard and soft. Soft witnessing techniques are less intrusive, depend on some sort of long-term relationship (not necessarily the one who has initial contact and does the outreach), and are more effective on those receptive to a gospel message. In fact, the more receptive to the gospel message, the more likely someone will feel comfortable with soft witnessing techniques. Hard witnessing techniques are more confrontive, intrusive, and are designed to approach the one who has already formulated a position against a gospel message. However, we need to keep in mind that we cannot depend on a technique or method to lead someone to Christ.

Techniques and methods are only basic guidelines, and are used primarily to illustrate ways that an evangelist can overcome a person’s initial reluctance to hear a gospel message. In order to pinpoint our focus, and prevent people from becoming our “project”, we need to keep certain goals in mind.

1. Breaking the ice. We want to provide an introduction to who we are, what we do and value. This will involve sharing, in some way, how God is involved in our lives. This is a point at which we want the person to feel somewhat comfortable with our person, and not be defensive or expecting to be “beaten” with a hard-line message. We begin to establish credibility at this point.

2. Building a long term relationship. We need to provide an influence of God’s work into the person’s life. We do not necessarily need to maintain a relationship, but if we do not, we must introduce our friend to someone who will. Trust is grown and built up here.

3. Presenting the truth. We want to present the gospel message, in a context that reflects our friend’s spiritual state, and a
spiritual state that would reflect a relationship with Christ. A decision to accept or reject, or consider the message presented, should not be viewed as a reflection upon ourselves.

4. Bringing our friend to a commitment. We want to help our friend to decide what side of the spiritual realm he wants to be on. We must present both sides of the argument fairly. In other words, we must not be flowery in our speaking, nor deceptive. Also, we need to avoid putting any kind of pressure on our friend. The Holy Spirit will convict the sincere heart.

5. Discipleship. This concluding phase puts our friend on the path of living and leading a life under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

These stages usually occur in this same chronology.

Breaking the Ice

It should be noted that many cults will try to use some of the same techniques. Our own witnessing strength will be in trusting the Lord in our endeavor, and in presenting a truthful self.

a. Common Ground. Talking about something that we have in common with one another serves as an introduction and a lead-in
to further conversation. You may have to be an observer for a while (but not secretive; be a passive participant for a while), in order to establish what commonality exists.

b. Inquiry. Ask a question. Often, we volunteer information that is not directly asked for. This leads to finding commonality.

i. Affectational query – likes and dislikes

ii. Informational query – about the person

iii. Clarification query – to ask about the surroundings, or current context of a situation

c. Differences. Differences of opinion, activity, or sharing of new ideas can spur a conversation, due to commonality in difference.

d. Padded confrontation. This is usually referred to a context of humor. Confrontation occurs, but it is not pointed.  Usually, it becomes couched in a joke or humor. This will then lead to a more serious consideration of the topic at hand.

e. Information. Giving information to someone seeking a specific answer will build a rapport in credibility. Further questions may develop, and a conversation will ensue.

f. Introduction. State what you want to do, and why. Used mainly in mass approach and door-to-door evangelism.

g. Literature/Materials handout. Give away materials in a public context. Opportunities may or may not develop into a further stage. This method may also turn into a confrontationally oriented witness.

“Breaking The Ice” occurs in any social context. We need to be willing to spend a certain amount of time, in order to introduce ourselves and build up credibility. Also, the desire for a longer term relationship needs to be present.

Building A Long Term Relationship

Christ built His ministry on the relationship that He had with a few men. He spent several years sharing Himself, His ideas and thoughts, to those Apostles. We also need to build long term relationships, and quality counts.

a. Consistently meeting one another.

b. A commitment to respect and support.

c. A genuine personal interest and value of things that concern our friend.

d. Honesty and openness, especially about our position in Christ.

e. Tactfulness

f. Consistent walk with God reflected in our lives.

Presenting the Truth

Usually, we present the truth through a personal testimony.
Sometimes this does not occur, but it needs to accompany any presentation of the gospel.

a. Illustrative devices. These are illustrations, or analogies that emphasize what the Scriptures say. Not effective in a hard situation, since analogies are often inaccurate, or incomplete, as they relate to the being of God and man.

b. Scriptural presentation. Presenting scriptures and reflecting on what they say about salvation. This assumes a pre-existing respect for the Bible and its contents.

c. Personal testimony.

Presented by: The Christian Counter Project
P.O. Box 957215
Hoffman Estates, IL 60195

Copyright 1989 The Christian Counter Project

Reproduction permitted only if text is intact, not within the body of any other text, and is not sold for gain or profit.

August 1989