Witnessing to someone who doesn’t know God, or even a Christian who has turned from God, can be more effective when empathy, discernment and listening is employed.

Often rejection of God comes from a hurting heart. It might be a personal tragedy, trial, or even an encounter with a religious person who was a poor example of Christ or a poor witness. The same strategies that are effective when witnessing to the lost apply are effective when witnessing to the wander (a Christian who has turned away from Jesus). In loving and ministering to all people, empathy, discernment, and a listening ear will take the conversation much farther than a data dump of biblical facts.

I suggest five strategies for effective witnessing:

Strategy 1: Ask questions.

Strategy 2: Listen

Strategy 3: Focus

Strategy 4: Pray

Strategy 5: Don’t converse to “win.”

Most Important: Be Bold. Be Kind. Be Wise. Start by asking questions and listening. Then share truth and hope — found only in Jesus.