In my job training sidewalk counselors nationally, I often am asked to demonstrate what they should do. I have been doing this for a decade now, and experience definitely builds confidence. I know a lot of things I typically say, and I know they are effective. I am pretty clear on the things that I should not say, and the things that are usually ineffective. Thus, I am confident when I speak and call out to the women arriving at the abortion center.
One of the most frequent things I see in sidewalk counselors that detracts from their effectiveness is a tentative or even apologetic tone or body language as they speak to the women or try to get pedestrians or cars to stop for them.
The Bible says that one of the fruits of the spirit is boldness. We are not have a spirit of timidity and fear:
“But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,” (2 Corinthians 3:7-8, 12).
Moses’ great faith and hope came from being with the Lord. Yet we have an even GREATER hope! The Holy Spirit FILLS us, abides in us, and speaks through us; THEREFORE, we are BOLD in our speech because the glory of God is with us!
After watching me, one very humble and gentle volunteer asked me, “How do I get boldness?” I loved that question. She saw what she wanted, was humble enough to recognize she didn’t have it, and wise enough to know she needed it.
Most of what I had been teaching her team were practical suggestions; how-to instructions on sidewalk counseling. There are many things that can be taught to increase sidewalk outreach effectiveness – but boldness isn’t something I can teach. Boldness is something we possess.
So how do we possess boldness?
Abide in the Spirit
First, we must abide in the Spirit, as already stated. Every good and righteous thing I utter that has the power to transform comes from the Holy Spirit in me. Everyone who has recognized and repented of their sins, and submitted their lives to the Lordship of Jesus, is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. The mere understanding of this incredible truth should be enough to know all believers have the capacity for boldness.
Be convinced you have the answer
No matter what the women determined to abort are facing, no matter how awful their situation, the ONE thing they need most is Jesus. He IS the answer. Know this in your own heart and do not shrink from admitting it and stating it.
Be assured it is the MOST important thing they need to hear
They are likely hearing many voices clamoring for death to their baby. Many people and society in general urge us to do what makes US happy. We DESERVE the best. HELP ourselves before we help others.
But the Bible suggests a very different message:
- Take up your cross and follow Me (Matthew 16: 24-26)
- Deny yourself (Matthew 16:24)
- Consider others more worthy than me (Philippians 2:3)
- Love your neighbor (Matthew 22: 35-40)
- Desire God above all else (Psalm 73)
To KNOW the truth will set us free. To obey God is more important than any terrible situation we face. To follow HIS plan is always better than following our plans apart from or in defiance of Him.
What we have to say is of critical importance. When we are certain of the biblical truth and necessity of our message, we are much more likely to be bold in proclaiming it.
The Holy Spirit WILL speak through us if we are willing. Nonetheless, that is NOT a reason to be unprepared. Preparation and training will build confidence in the intimidating world of sidewalk outreach.
Know as much as you can about abortion, fetal development, the scriptural support for the sanctity of human life and local resources. Have good literature to pass out. Effective signs. Full team support. Strategic plans to best reach the women where you will most likely be heard. Ways to flag down cars that make them most likely to stop for you. Comfortable clothes for the weather conditions.
The more prepared you are, the more self assurance you will feel.
Expect God to move
Be self assured, but also look for God. He WILL be there, and He WILL move. He will open doors for His message to be proclaimed. Our ministry describes this as Faithful Expectation. If we are certain God is with us and desires that His truths be proclaimed, we are more likely to seize boldly every opportunity He opens for us. Be alert for God and boldly expect His presence.
Do not fear. He wants to use you. He knows you with all your talents and all your shortcomings. He is still eager to use you! Trust that He will use you to full capacity. Rest in the assurance that He WILL bring about His good purpose. You just need to show up, be prepared, be willing, and let Him do His miraculous work through you.
“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29-31).