Home > Love & Grow > Walt Morris: Witnessing as a Spiritual Discipline

“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith.  They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others.  As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses.” In Matt 28:19 he said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Those are not suggestions. They are commands that I have always had difficulty obeying. My reluctance is clearly due to fear of rejection. That is an unreasonable fear. When I have witnessed, I have never been rejected. Sometimes the relationship became closer; they liked knowing that I cared. An unreasonable fear is the definition of a phobia. So I had a phobia of witnessing.

I prayed about this and my prayers were answered with opportunities to teach Bible classes, to become a trained Billy Graham Crusade decision counselor, to be a church decision counselor, to join a prison ministry, and to work in foreign medical missions. All of these made witnessing easy.
Witnessing is more than, “Live a good life and hope someone notices.” “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary use words” is a saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. There is no good evidence that he said that, and his life and teaching show that he knew the necessity of words in spreading the good news.
There are methods of using scripture in witnessing online including “The Four Spiritual Laws” and “The Roman Road”. I like to include John 1:12, John 3:16, and Rom 10:9,10. The method is not that important. We do not save the other person. The Holy Spirit does that.. The only way for us to fail is not to try.
I have a friend in Jacksonville, FL whose father was a Baptist minister in West Virginia. He was a bold and consistent witness for Jesus which sometimes embarrassed her. Once they were in a department store, and true to form, he shared the Gospel with a lady that he met there. When they left the store she said, “Daddy, you embarrassed that lady.” They walked on for a minute, and then he said, “I like the way I do it better than the way you don’t do it.” She treasured that as one of the best lessons of her life, and became a bold and consistent witness herself.
Walt and his wife, Pat, have been members of Sylva FUMC since 2016.