Tactical surprise is where a small group or a single person is caught by surprise. The object of surprise is to catch the listener with his guard down. We do not want to warn him that he is going to get hit.

It was December 31, 1949. I was in my senior year at the Naval Academy. I had been invited to give my testimony at an evangelistic dinner at the roof garden of the Hotel Astor in New York City. I gave my testimony and went back to my table.

Jack Wyrtzen, the evangelist, was preaching the gospel when a note was handed to me from across the table. It said, “If you look behind you at the next table there is a sailor. I am his sister sitting next to him. When Jack gives the invitation to receive Christ, will you encourage my brother to receive Christ?”

When the invitation was given, I turned around and started to talk to the sailor. He was obviously ready. He was convicted, he believed, but he would not call upon the Lord. I pressured him. I got him to talk with the members of the quartet who had sung that evening. He still would not receive Christ. Against his will, I got him to talk with Jack Wyrtzen.

Jack said, “Glad to know you, Frank,” and followed that up with, “What ship are you on? Where is your home town? Do you have a girlfriend?”

Frank was so glad to be talking about his ship, his home town, and his girl instead of Jesus Christ that he dropped his guard. In the middle of this, Jack grabbed him by the neckerchief and said, “Frank, what do you have against the Lord Jesus Christ!?”

Frank fell apart and received the Lord. That was an example of tactical surprise. You should not necessarily copy it, but should see the principle involved and copy that. Pray for opportunities to use surprise.

The defender must be kept ignorant of what you are going to do or say. You must also be led by the Spirit in what you do and say.

Years ago, I went to see a man who was divorcing his wife for another woman. He had his guard high. I said to him, “Do you think there is such a thing as a real Christian? A Christian from God’s point of view?”

He was surprised at the question. He said yes.

“Are you one of them?”

He said yes again.

Our conversation continued in a very open way. He dropped his guard when I opened the conversation in a way he did not expect. Surprise is a good thing. Use it.

*Excerpted from Weapons & Tactics. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.