Share Jesus Without Fear by William Fay

 Critical Book Review
Share Jesus Without Fear by William Fay, with Linda Evans Shepherd

Bibliographical Entry
Fay, William, and Linda E. Shepherd. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999.

Author Information
            Author of a series of products related to Share Jesus Without Fear, William (Bill) Fay is a graduate of Denver Seminary and talk show host of “Let’s Go,” an internationally syndicated radio program.  Prior to accepting Christ in to his life, Fay's father was a vice president with General Foods, successfully introducing a product of frozen foods called Birds Eye.  Fay was raised on a silver spoon.  Eventually, he had ties to the mafia and ran Fantasy Island, one of the largest houses of ill repute in the United States.  At sixteen, he fathered a child.  Fay admits he cheated his way through college and as a professional gambler he also cheated at cards. He is presently on his fourth marriage, three of which were before his confession of faith.  After accepting Jesus, his life was flipped for God’s Kingdom.  Today, he travels around the world, teaching and equipping Christians to be successful evangelists.  Share Jesus Without Fear has been translated into Spanish and Fay has created a selection of booklets, journals, workbooks, and CDs to accompany the book.  His website boasts that over five million copies of his booklet “How to Share Your Faith Without an Argument” are in print.  William Fay lives with his wife, Peggy, in Ft. Myers, Florida.

             Linda Evans Shepherd has authored over twenty books, mostly targeted at female audiences including The Potluck Club series.  She too travels around the nation publicly speaking in an effort to teach and encourage her audiences.  She is a frequent guest on both radio and television talk shows and she co-founded Jubilant Press.  Longmount, Colorado is the home of Shepherd and her family.

Content Summary
            Share Jesus Without Fear is Fay’s systematic method to more effective evangelism.  With scripture and his personal experience, Fay[1] encourages his readers to shed preconceived ideas of evangelism and utilize his method of sharing Jesus with those around them, loved ones and strangers alike. 
           Fay opens his work with an encouragement to his readers.  Success in evangelism, he argues, comes simply from sharing one’s faith, not, as most think, from seeing a person come to Christ (p. 2-3).  Then he shares his vision, specifically that saved people will return to the community of the unsaved to lead others to salvation rather than only finding comfort in their new community of believers.  In his vision he uses an analogy of people drowning in the ocean and those saved on an island.  Fay presents his concept of the “Sin of Silence” (p. 6-7), followed by statistics and information about how most come to salvation.  Because only ten to fifteen percentage of people come to Christ through an “event,” and only five percent of Christians share their faith with others, Fay argues that this “Sin of Silence” is a major problem.  After making his case for a need of all believers to also enjoy and active lifestyle of evangelism, Fay moves to addressing the root of most objections to sharing Jesus—fear.

            Once his foundation is in place, Fay begins outlining his “sharing” system starting with some probing questions designed to feel out what the Spirit is doing in the subject person.  The questions are,
1. Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs? 2. To you, who is Jesus Christ? 3. Do you believe in heaven or hell? 4. If you died, where would you go? And, 5. If what you are believing is not true, would you want to know?
As instructed, when the witness gets a yes to question number five, Fay says it is time to get to the scriptures. Here, he argues that the scriptures do the convincing and the Spirit is working on the person.  It is not the work of the witness; the witness is merely in the business of turning pages (p. 45).  He also gives the reader some responses to work with objections to the Bible.

As he progresses through his program, Fay provides specific scriptures, questions, and things to mark a sharing Bible that help lead a person to Christ.  The suggested scriptures are Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:3, John 14:6, Romans 10:9-11, 2 Corinthians 5:15, Revelations 3:20, although Fay suggest to use others if the participant has other preferred verses.  Trust in the power of the Scriptures is vital according to Fay, and generally, any scriptures will have convicting power if the Holy Spirit is working in the person's life.  
            After working through his evangelical system, Fay shares what do to in the event that his method is successful and the subject person is ready to make a decision for Christ.  A basic explanation of the Sinner’s Prayer is outlined along with some confessional questions for the subject person.  After sharing a couple personal stories about people coming to Christ, Fay offers a number of reactions to potential objections.  In addition to this chapter, an appendix is provided on the same objections, and nearly a third of the book consists of this chapter and appendix covering the same topic.  To conclude his work, Fay shares how to make and keep friends with non-believers, how to pray for those believers, and a challenge to his reader to put the contents of Sharing Jesus Without Fear to practice.  Fay dedicated many pages of appendixes—most of which are review and boiled down instructions—and his testimony. 

            William Fay set out to help readers shed the fear they carry when it comes to sharing their faith.  From the very first pages, he succeeded in this endeavor.  By first defining what evangelism successes and failures are, followed by some statistics designed to drive home his point through a little guilt, he is able to successfully convince his reader that the need is huge and there is little reason to be fearful to share Jesus.  However, if the reader has any doubts, Fay takes one more opportunity to address them by following up with a chapter set on overcoming the assumed objections of the reader.  This first section of his book is the strongest and most convincing portion of his work.  If all he set out to accomplish was to motivate his reader to action by eliminating fear, he has succeeded.  However, this is only one third of the book.

            The next portion of the book is on the sharing system itself.  Had Fay published his work twenty years ago, his suggested five probing questions might have been the best questions to ask in order to determine if a person was ripe for hearing the gospel; but as the world shifts into postmodernism, only the first question seems to address the non-believer today.  With some rewording, the second question might be more effective.  Question three and four come across like something said of a traveling salesperson, and question five could use some updating.  The concept behind the questions, that is to determine someone’s ripeness, is a sound and timeless concept, so the wording of these questions does not adversely affect Fay’s premise. 

            Keeping a special sharing Bible and writing specific notes is a valuable teaching to the evangelist that doesn’t have an arsenal of memorized verses at his or her disposal.  Fay’s idea has simplified the sharing process, and in turn, reduced fear even more.  However, he only offers two responses for objections to the authority of the Bible.  He assumes that the non-believer will accept the authority of the Scriptures once the issues of multiple translations and error are overcome.  Here again, the postmodern non-believer often is looking for more, be it background, feeling, or something else.  Fay does little to address the potential issues here.

            What follows the demonstration of the sharing program is to be expected.  Sections on what do to when a person objects and what do to when a person accepts.  An author writing on evangelism could hardly expect to be taken seriously if he or she neglected a “what now” section.  Fay’s book is no different.  There is little if anything outside of what would be found in any other book on this topic.
            While Fay’s definition of success is valuable and much needed in a time when most Christians are debilitated by it, he tends to oversimplify evangelism.  He is correct in saying God does the work and we are just page turners, but his system does not encourage the evangelist to continually prepare him or herself through study of the Bible, study of the people groups of the community, and prayer.  Nor does he encourage authenticity in his pre-programmed system.  This might be, in part, Fay’s effort to reduce fear but it potentially comes at a cost.  Should the reader fearlessly engage in a bold but unauthentic evangelistic effort that does not look like the picture Fay painted, he or she may be more discouraged than before.  On the other hand, there is a reasonable chance that the activity will look exactly like Fay’s understanding of evangelism and the reader will be even more encouraged.  Either way, the reader has engaged in Fay’s primary purpose of evangelism even if he or she is ineffective.  According to Fay, rightly, he or she has been successful in obeying God’s call to evangelism. 

            Christians who are inexperienced in evangelism techniques should read this book and use it to build a foundation of experience upon, modifying as they go.             

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[1] While Share Jesus Without Fear is authored by both William Fay and Linda Evans Shepherd, it is clear that this method and idea predominantly belongs to Fay. For this reason, authorship of the ideas will be attributed only to Fay.

*This post was, in its entirety or in part, originally written in seminary in partial fulfillment of a M.Div. It may have been redacted or modified for this website.  Any purchases through this website help support the ministry of