Don’t Back Up the Dump Truck
Often when Christians describe a witnessing dialogue they had with a Mormon, in my mind I hear “beep, beep, beep” - the sound a dump truck makes when it backs up. This flashes through my mind because they talk about how they shared one Bible verse after another with their Mormon friend.
Although well intended, this often overwhelms Mormons. They frequently feel as if a whole dump truck load has been unloaded on them. And it’s not just Mormons who feel this way either. Anybody, who isn’t acquainted with the Bible, can easily feel overwhelmed.
This, however, can be difficult to remember. We are accustomed to and appreciate a truth supported by numerous passages. The more the better!
To better understand how the other person feels, imagine having a Muslim friend cite passage after passage from the Koran. If you truly wanted to understand those passages, you would quickly say “Slow down! This is all new to me. I need time to digest them.”
Instead of citing numerous passages, it is usually better to discuss a few passages more slowly and thoroughly. It’s especially important to place passages into context. We often say this but sometimes, especially in witnessing conversations, we don’t practice it. As I mentioned above, it’s easy to fall into “proof-texting” – citing a series of isolated passages to prove a point without even a passing glance at their context.
Again, think of how confusing this might be. It would be like showing people a series of clips from various movies without them knowing anything else about the movie. To say that they might misinterpret the significant of those clips is an understatement. There’s a good chance they will completely miss the point.
Focusing on a few select passages doesn’t just help the listener, it also helps us as we witness. A common apprehension in witnessing is not remembering everything you want to say. Discussing only a few passages, however, removes a lot of anxiety. It is so much easier to study, prep, and remember three passages then it is three dozen.
So, don’t back up the dump truck. Instead share with them only a few morsels of God’s Word. There’s a good chance they will remember those individual passages more – and be affected more by them.
Don’t take my word for it. The next time you have a witnessing conversation, try it. I think you will like it.