In my book Sharing Jesus (Without Freaking Out) I have an eight-week-journey to helping you grow as a follower of Jesus in your personal witness. My students have been going through that this fall. I conclude the book with five simple ideas for developing a plan to share Christ regularly.

Witnessing means more than the passing on of information; it’s helping people see the very meaning and essence of life and reality. This way we don’t see people as projects we want to convert, but as God’s image bearers who desperately need to be made right with him, and that conversion is for God’s glory and for their good. We don’t see people as a project to conquer. Our desire to share Jesus with people is not because we want to convert them, but because we are converted!

To change physically, we need a plan. The same is true spiritually. As a culture the dietary trajectory is not a good one, given the rise of processed foods and a parallel rise of issues such as diabetes and obesity. “We are literally killing ourselves,” John Ratey says concerning physical health in his book Spark, adding, “What’s even more disturbing, and virtually no one recognizes, is that [physical] inactivity is killing our brains too—physically shriveling them.”[1]

Ratey offers the Naperville School District near Chicago as an example of a different approach. In this district, of the 19,000 sophomores, only 3 percent were overweight (compared to 30 percent nationally). But the students in this district are not only more fit. At a time when students in several Asian countries rank ahead of American students, the Naperville eighth graders ranked sixth in math and first in science in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study test, an international standards test taken by 230,000 students globally.

Why did this school district rank so well? Ratey observes one issue that stood out. What happened in Naperville didn’t begin with a brilliant educator with a Mensa-level IQ. It started with a physical education teacher who read about the growing unhealthiness of American students. Naperville students shifted to begin their day with Zero Hour, a first period that included heart rate monitors with students running a mile. What they discovered: Learning is significantly enhanced when preceded by exercise.

These high school students were taught fitness principles and exercised their bodies before engaging their minds. In addition, each high school student developed his or her own personal plan for a life of wellness.

Here’s my question for you: If a student at a public high school can develop a vision and plan for life-long physical wellness, shouldn’t you be able to develop a vision and plan for life-long witness?

Here’s the final of 8 principles from the book. Principle 8: Developing a lifestyle of sharing Jesus consistently flows out of a plan to share Jesus regularly.

Do you have a plan? In the next few posts I will unpack the plan I offer in the book. But it starts with the conviction that a plan matters.

[1] John Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008), 4. See also Reid, As You Go, 198–199.

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