BOLDNESS IS OVERRATED Try Free Attention Giveaways Witnessing.Few words strike more fear into the heart of the average Christian. What is witnessing, exactly, and how do you do it? What happens if you forget what to say or get tongue-tied or don't know the answer if the person asks you a question? I know the feeling. I became a Christian at age twenty-one during the Jesus movement. Witnessing? Wasn't that something you did in court? "Don't worry," my long-haired Jesus-people mentors told me. "We'll show you what it's all about." They showed me the ropes of evangelizing as we witnessed our way through clouds of cannabis smoke at an outdoor rock concert. Just a few weeks earlier, I'd been part of the "target audience." Now I was the targeter. I was told that this is what it meant tobe a Christian. If you weren't finagling a way to steer the conversation toward Jesus, you were "selling out." If you weren't feeling uncomfortable at least once a day due to your boldness for the cause of Christ, it was doubtful that you were really saved. When I was a new Christian protected by my closed hippie-Christian culture, it all seemed so simple. Go out, witness to as many people as you can, come back to the bible study, and tell everyone about your exploits. When you do this, you're rewarded with kudos and assurances that anyone who rejected you rejected God. You can shake that experience off like so much dirt on your shoes. Their blood is no longer on your hands. On to the next target! In time I became a professional Christian and started acting like one. Pastors learn not to do radical things, such as walk up to people on the street and ask them for a few minutes to explain Jesus, God, sin, and hell. Instead, we find culturally appropriate ways to "present" the gospel. We do it at special church programs, or we sneak it into the talks we give at weddings and funerals. We don't want to come off like the door-to-door guys. We become more sophisticated in the way we go about sharing our faith. And sadly, many of us stop altogether. Sure, in public we keep it up. We still remind the "troops" to go out and share the gospel with their neighbors. We read the latest demographics so that we know where our target markets are located. We even hold seminars and commit a few weeks every year to teach on evangelism. But we pretty much know that nothing is going to come of it. I speak not as an outsider but as one who has been there and done that. I was a busy pastor, preaching, leading meetings, and coming up with mission statements. Yet I couldn't make myself stop thinking about evangelism. I couldn't live with it and I couldn't live without it. So I buried that voice. But still, I could hear it call to me. I've been intrigued, frustrated, and energized by the issue of evangelism all of my Christian life. I'm not an evangelist. I am more a student of the game we call evangelism. It may be because it's one topic that's guaranteed to irritate both Christians and non-Christians. I have been told that one of my spiritual gifts isprovocateur,which may help explain the connection. I'm a late bloomer. I didn't succeed in my thirties or forties. As I turned fifty I had a slight inkling as to what I wanted to do when I grew up. I took heart in studying the lives of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Harry Truman, and Mother Teresa, all of whom really got started around age fifty. The sense of mortality has a huge upside: It helps you stop worrying about trying to become something you aren't and get on with being who you reaHenderson, Jim is the author of 'Evangelism Without Additives What If Sharing Your Faith Meant Just Being Yourself?', published 2007 under ISBN 9781400073771 and ISBN 1400073774.