When sharing with the Witnesses at your door, just remember they are usually well prepared. Dr. Walter Martin used to say they are trained to turn the average Christian into a doctrinal pretzel. This is why we need to study and be prepared for them. We need to be willing to do for the truth what they are willing to do for error.
The primary way to get better at sharing with a Jehovah’s Witnesses is to engage them in discussions. Over the years I have made many mistakes in communicating the truth with the Witness at my door. I will use a baseball analogy to chronicle my years of sharing and what I’ve learned by study and experience. As you read through the stages try to figure out where you are in this process.
1. Spectator stage: A spectator is someone who sits in the stands and watches the game without actively participating. A spectator may have great knowledge about the game but is not in the game. After I came to Christ I was too afraid to share with people, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses. I would spend hours studying but I was too intimidated to get into a conversation. When a Jehovah’s Witness came to my door I would say, “I have my own religion” and slam the door shut.
2. Strike out stage: After a few years of study I finally decided to talk to the Witnesses at my door. I still remember my heart racing as I tried to discuss issues in the Bible. I was making my best attempt at sharing but was getting beat up; striking out in the discussions. I was in this stage for a few years but the best thing I did was hang in there and not quit. It caused me to study more. The hardest part was I was so nervous I would literally shake.
3. Extra innings stage: Eventually, I was able to hold my own in a conversation. I never would have reached this point if I had stayed a spectator or allowed getting beat up to discourage me from studying. I was still too nervous at the door but getting better. The experience of sharing continued to drive me to study more.
4. Grand slam stage: Through study and practice over time I had gained so much theological knowledge I was now at an advantage in these conversations. I knew their favorite scriptures and I started taking command of the discussions. I had answers for all their objections. I began to look forward to beating them up; a sort of payback. However, pride was becoming my greatest stumbling block. As they asked to turn to certain verses I would arrogantly have turned to those passages before they even asked; I was just showing off. The problem wasn’t the content I shared with them; the problem was my attitude. The one good thing was when they left I had put a rock in their shoe and made them question their beliefs. Yet I realized I needed to change my attitude.
The problem wasn’t the fact that I was winning arguments; that is a good thing. We win spiritual arguments because the Holy Spirit can use good arguments to lead someone to Christ. The issue was my pride and how I wasn’t an effective ambassador for Christ. Eventually, Jehovah’s Witnesses quit coming to my house. This lasted for over 2 years. The fact they boycotted my house was not what I desired. I knew I had to do something different.
5. 162 game season stage: I finally realized I needed to slowly build a friendship relationship. I needed to work with Jehovah’s Witnesses with the same love and tactics I used with Mormons at my door. I always was respectful and moved doctrinally very slowly when Mormon missionaries visited me. I no longer wanted to make my front door a battleground. My new game plan was to sit back and not play out my theological trump cards too soon. I would treat them as friends instead of adversaries. I would ask personal questions about family, work and other non-combative topics to relax them. Over time I would turn up the heat and challenge them.
How has this new tactic worked? I had an ongoing discussion with two Jehovah’s Witnesses for over 9 months and another pair of Witnesses for a year and a half. During those times I showed them weaknesses in their beliefs but did so over a longer period of time and I asked more questions. I finally began to realize what it meant to be an ambassador for Christ. As 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”