Every believer is called to be a witness for our Lord. But research shows that in any given church almost all the personal evangelism is done by less than 10 percent of the congregation.
Why do the significant majority of believers not actively engage in sharing their faith? Some believe it is a result of apathy. But, I believe the primary reason is a lack of confidence.
Unfortunately, many Christians think they will have to knock on doors or confront strangers on the street to be a personal witness. The Bible teaches that each of us needs to be simply ready to respond when God opens the door of opportunity for witness.
People can be freed from a sense of inadequacy or even fear concerning witness for Christ by clearly understanding what the Scripture teaches concerning the difference between our responsibility and the work of the Holy Spirit in evangelism.
The apostle Paul’s approachEvangelism isn’t an option — how we do it is. The same Bible that commands us to reach people with the message of Jesus Christ also tells us how.
To the Colossian church Paul gave a profound yet practical teaching concerning effective Christian witness. His final instructions in the letter concerned how Christians should relate to unbelievers, whom he appropriately calls “outsiders”:
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. 
I like to call Paul’s approach “response evangelism,” taken from the wording of verse 6.
In Paul’s instruction, we find that effective witness involves two principles and six practices. The principles are dependence (vv.2-4) and discipline (vv.5,6). We must discipline ourselves to do our part in personal evangelism while remaining dependent on God to do what only He can.
Following are the six practices Paul advocates that will help every believer be an effective witness for Christ:
Practice 1—Pray for open doors
“… praying … that God will open up to us a door for the word…” (Colossians 4:3)
Paul begins his instruction to the Colossians exhorting them to pray. Prayer is essential in evangelism; because, unless God works in people’s hearts and lives, our work will not produce lasting results.
A revealing example of God’s working with one of His messengers is found in Acts. When Paul and his companions went to a riverbank outside Philippi to pray on the Sabbath day, they sat down and began speaking to a group of women. “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” Paul spoke the message. The Lord opened Lydia’s heart!
We have the privilege and responsibility of sharing the message. But only God can open a heart.
Practice 2—Share Christ Clearly
“… that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak…” (Colossians 4:4)
Paul’s prayer requests teach us that we are dependent on God at both ends of the communication process. We need the Holy Spirit’s help to open a person’s heart for the message. We also need His help to deliver the message clearly.
Paul said his message was the “mystery of Christ.”  The central issue in evangelism is that people must be brought to a decision concerning Jesus Christ and what His sacrifice on the cross means for each of us.
Peter’s preaching in the Book of Acts 11 always answers these two basic questions: Who was Jesus? and Why did He give His life? Being prepared to discuss these two questions will equip you to share Christ simply and clearly with nonbelievers.
Click Here to watch a video about these two questions.
1) Who was Jesus?In recent years, cover stories about Jesus have appeared in almost all major national news magazines. Television programs and miniseries highlight His role in history. But accounts of Christ’s life by secular media almost always present Him as a fictional character, a great teacher or a prophet—but he is depicted as only a man.
Jesus was much more than a teacher and prophet. He was God in human form. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for our sins and conquered death by rising again to offer us forgiveness and the gift of everlasting life. He ascended to heaven and will return to earth again for His followers.
If Jesus Christ was not who He claimed to be, if He is not the crucified and risen Son of God, then, as the apostle Paul declared, our faith is useless.  Paul wrote, “there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 
2) Why did He give His life?
Jesus gave his life for two essential reasons. First, because we are sinners. Second, because we could do nothing about it.
John the Baptist clearly announced the purpose of Jesus’ mission on earth when he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  Each of us has sinned and is separated from God. The punishment for sin is death.  The death about which the Bible speaks is not just physical death. It means a person’s spirit will be in everlasting punishment in hell. Jesus explained that hell is like a “lake of fire,” and that everyone who goes there is separated from God forever and burns in fire that never ends. 
But God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus was born as a man, but He lived His life without sin. Men lied about Him and judged Him guilty of things He had never done. Then they killed Him on a cross. Jesus never sinned, but He was punished for sin. So death had no power over Him, and He came back to life after three days.  Now He gives everlasting life to anyone who calls upon His name  and receives Him as Savior and Lord.
Practice 3—Be wise with “outsiders”
“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders…” (Colossians 4:5)
After telling the Colossians to devote themselves to prayer, Paul instructs them to act wisely with outsiders. The word outsiders is significant. We have all been in settings where we have really been “outside.” The insiders have private jokes and expressions we don’t understand. We are left out because the meanings are private.
Paul’s term — outsider — is an appropriate and practical way of describing where unbelievers are in relation to the church. And for a variety of reasons, most unbelievers with whom we will share Christ today are farther outside the Christian context than ever.
With most unbelievers, we must recognize that we are communicating from a church culture to a secular culture. We are communicating with people whose American culture we share. But, if we have spent much of our lives in the church, we have acquired the perceptions, values and even vocabulary of the church. The Christian and the unbeliever may both speak English, but the Christian often uses church terms that are unfamiliar or mean something different in secular culture. When we use Christian jargon freely with unbelievers, we erect a communication barrier. We understand words such as saved, gospel, and anointing, but they are confusing to people who are unfamiliar with those terms. Unbelievers must be reached through their vocabulary, not ours.
Practice 4—Seize opportunities
“…making the most of the opportunity…” (Ephesians 5:16)
Opportunities are framed in time. The common saying, “Opportunity doesn’t knock twice,” is true. An opportunity may never arise a second time. Each opportunity is unique, because people and circumstances are different.
Many feel inadequate to witness because they feel they can’t retain all the information they believe is necessary. They can’t remember all the Scriptures they think they should. Even if they did, they aren’t confident they can recall them when needed. But every believer has a personal testimony. Sharing our personal experience and relationship with Jesus Christ with sincerity and conviction can be the most compelling argument of all with some people.
One of the most opportune ways of ministering to unbelievers is prayer. When they express problems, ask for the privilege of praying with them. If we truly believe God answers prayer, we should practice our belief by praying with and for people, believing God to answer. Hearing a believer pray can have a significant effect on unbelievers. When genuine believers pray for a need, people can tell they are sincere and have a relationship with God. And when God answers prayer, it can be the means of opening hearts to the message of Christ.
Practice 5—Season conversation with grace
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6)
Not only what we say is important, but also how we say it.
Much of our interpersonal communication is nonverbal. If there is a contradiction between what someone says and the way that person says it, we will believe the way it’s said every time. An apology can be given with exactly the same words in two different ways and be perceived as either sincere or sarcastic.
Many of those we are trying to reach in the United States have a negative history with the church and are defensive or even hostile to Christian witness. Others are emotionally scarred and have become insensitive to spiritual matters. The Christian with personal grace and credibility will help counteract the mixed signals people have received from those whose lives have been inconsistent with their message.
As salt seasons food, a spirit of grace should season our conversation with unbelievers. We must not compromise the truth. But we can communicate the truth with kindness.
Practice 6—Respond individually
“… that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:6)
Most people who come to Christ through personal evangelism are not led to Christ by strangers, but by someone they know. Most of our witness will be among people we know and with whom we have ongoing relationships. In these relationships, memorizing an evangelistic routine will not be enough. We can’t keep repeating the same things to people we know. We must be ready to respond to them in a variety of ways.
When Paul says we are to respond to each person, it implies that we will respond differently, because each person is an individual. Effective evangelism is not merely a clever routine with predetermined, memorized answers. We should try to be sensitive to each person’s needs.
Those who are lost and headed toward eternal judgment deserve more from us than canned answers to serious, heart-searching questions. People are not just statistics, not merely souls to be won for the Kingdom. They are individuals with distinct personalities — unique creations for whom God has a personal plan and purpose.
We should remind ourselves that the most quoted verse in the Bible, John 3:16, was not part of one of Jesus’ sermons. It was in a conversation spoken softly in the night to Nicodemus, as Jesus responded to the Pharisee with the searching questions.
Though He taught the multitudes, Jesus focused on people as individuals and responded to them. People who are lost deserve what those who came in contact with Jesus received — a personal response.
Response evangelism is possible because God takes the initiative in salvation. When we understand His work in evangelism, it enables us to be bold — depending on His persuasive work. We can also be patient — trusting His timing rather than trying to push people to a premature decision. It will free us from anxiety and allow us to be neither hesitant nor hasty as we deal with people.
Everyone — our friends and family members, our neighbors and co-workers, and every person we meet — will spend eternity in heaven or hell. And every person should be given an adequate witness and the opportunity to make a decision concerning Christ’s offer of salvation.
Randy Hurst is commissioner of evangelism for the Assemblies of God.
 Ephesians 6:18-20 (NASB)
 Acts 16:14 (NASB)
 Colossians 4:3 (NASB)
 I Corinthians 15:17 (NASB)
 I Timothy 2:5 (NASB)
 John 1:29 (NASB)
 Romans 6:23 (NASB)
 Mark 9:47-48; Revelation 20:15 (NASB)
 Mark 8:31; 9:31; 14:27-28 (NASB)
 Romans 10:13 (NASB)