Key Text:“And how shall they preach unless theyare sent? As it is written: ‘How beautifulare the feet of those who preach the gospelof peace, who bring glad tidings of goodthings!’ ” Romans 10:15, NKJVKey Thought:It is not enough that people be trained for evangelismand witnessing work; they must actively work for souls.
Many church members lament the fact that although they areprepared to attend witnessing and evangelism trainingseminars, they are not encouraged to become involved whenthey return to their home church. Consequently, manychurches that are not very active in witnessing and evangelisticactivities are unaware of the well-trained people in their midst.Occasionally some peoplewill voluntarily offer theirservices, but many othersconclude that they areeither not needed or notwanted. The most successfulway to stifle member invol-vement in any church activityis to deny them involvementin areas in which they areequipped to function.
It is the responsibilityof every local churchto discover where,and how, each membercan contribute to thewitnessing and evan-gelism strategies ofthe church. All whoare willing do have aplace. The key is to findthat place.This lesson we will explore the concept of intentionallysending out gospel workers and the ways in whichmaximum member involvement contributes to overallchurch harmony and spiritual and numerical growth.
1. Shared Responsibility 1. Shared Responsibility Many a dedicated church leader has cut short, or at bestdiminished, his or her effectiveness by unwillingness to share theministry load with others. This is not a new problem generated byour fast-paced modern world. Even the great Old Testament leaderMoses needed some help in order to see the big picture of shared leadership. We can learn much from his experience and the good advice received from his father-in-law, Jethro.
Carefully read Exodus 18:13–26.What significance do you see inthe words “let them” in verse22?We can only guess at how long Moseswould have been able to keep up hisunrealistic work schedule. Likewise, wecan only surmise as to what extentMoses was aware of the availability ofcapable helpers.What the story does reveal, however,is that there were many who wereable and willing to help. Moses wouldneed to let them become involved,delegating certain duties ofleadership to them.The ministry that church leaders must willingly share includes witnessingand evangelism. The principles of properly organized and sharedresponsibility that we glean from Moses’ experience are invaluable to ourefforts to win souls for the kingdom.
What significance do you see inthe way that Moses chose men MOSES CHOSEwith specific characteristics (vs. HIS HELPERS21) and gave them varieddegrees of responsibility (vs.25)? How would these principlesapply to the evangelisticstrategies of today’s churches?It was probably the intense, spiritualnature of the task of speaking forGod that made Moses reticent toshare his responsibilities. We, too,sense the awesome responsibilityof talking to people about God and speaking for God. Our witnessing andevangelism is serious business. We are mindful that eternal lives are at stake.And while this would, and should, cause us to be careful as to how weproceed, we must be ever willing to involve everyone in outreach andevangelism.Read again Exodus 18:21, 22. Notice that the newly appointed leadershipmade their ministry of the leaders available at all times. Thus, we shouldalways be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us.
2. Risking for SuccessMembers of Seventh-day Adventistchurches have tremendous ministrypotential. Many are enthusiasticabout involvement in their church’sevangelism strategies; however,those in leadership are sometimesreticent to let them get involved.Behind this “only professionals cando it” mind-set is the fear that church members may do or say somethingwrong, causing people to turn away fromChrist and His church. Sadly, this resistance to member involvement is soingrained that it prevails even when people have been adequately trained for aministry.The Holy Spirit and the promises He brings aren’t just for the leaders; they arefor all who are willing to surrender in faith and submission to the Lord, for allwho are willing to deny self and work for the salvation of others.
What principle taught byJesus in Matthew 7:17, 18should allay the fears ofconcerned leaders? Howdo we distinguish betweengood and bad fruit, andhow should the churchleadership as a whole beinvolved in this process?Also, how do we do thiswithout judging others?If every sound tree bears good fruit, church leaders should focus ongrowing sound trees. As with everything that has to do with ourresponse to the gospel call, we must first be someone for Jesusbefore we can successfully do things for Him. If we give adequateattention to the leading of people into a meaningful and deepeningrelationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will ensure that they bear theright fruit. Our part is to lead, teach, and train. God’s part is to blesstheir ministry. We need to trust them and God.
If we give adequate attention to spiritual growth and practicalskills, we can trust people to produce the right fruit of evangelisticsuccess. Certainly, there may be an element of risk depending on the ministry undertaken and the level of training, but we must remember that even the disciples, who had the greatest Teacher ever, never won every soul to whom they appealed.
REFLECTION: Have you ever felt that your gifts and talents were not appreciated? What might be the cause? Look inside yourself and see if, perhaps, thefault might lie there with you and some of your own attitudes (pride, and so on) instead of somewhere else.
3. Matching the Laborers With the HarvestWhen people show an interest inlearning more about God and Hischurch, we must choose carefully theones who will be given the task ofwitnessing to them.In a multicultural society, we woulddo well to assign someone of thesame nationality and language as theinquirer and possibly someone of asimilar age group.Furthermore, we would consider thespiritual maturity, biblical knowledge,communication skills, and salvationexperience of the worker. In otherwords, we should take seriously thematching of the laborer to those withwhom he or she will be working.
When it comes to witnessing and evangelism, there is no such thing as onesize fits all. There is uniqueness to everyone’s life journey and uniquenessto each one’s spiritual journey. However, while this uniqueness exists, thereare also similarities in people’s experiences, and it makes good sense tomatch as well as possible the experiences of the believer and the seeker.Read Acts 6:1– LAY PERSONS GRADUATED IN SOUTH BEND,USA.8. What tasksare listedhere? Whatwere theresults whenspecificministries andabilities werematched?
Notice the progressionof these events: thedisciples were madeaware of a pressingproblem. The disciplesasked the believers tofind seven men toaddress the problem.The believers broughttheir selection to thedisciples.The disciples appointedthem with the laying on of hands, and the number of disciplesmultiplied greatly. Although Stephen and the other six appointeeswere to “serve tables,” the qualification for this task did not seem tobe that they had the ability to organize and distribute food.
The believers still looked forspirit-filled men because theirministry to the Greek-speakingJewish widows would also be awitnessing and evangelism work.Thus, we see that the newlyappointed men were crucial tothe evangelism of the earlychurch in that they freed up thefrontline evangelists and alsoactively supported their work(see vs. 8).Again we can affirm that anyministry that church members getinvolved in will directly orindirectly contribute to, andsupport, witnessing andevangelism endeavors of achurch.
Although natural talents, PAUL TRAINING TIMOTHYspiritual gifts, and specifictraining are important to asuccessful church ministry,personal attitudes are,perhaps, even moreimportant.Notice that in Acts 16:1–5 andActs 4:36, 37, both Timothyand Barnabas had the attitudeof doing whatever it took tosupport this gospel ministry.Barnabas would give of hispersonal means, and Timothywould submit to circumcisionso as not to offend someJews. The lessons for us are,indeed, obvious.
4. Spiritual Growth Through PAUL TRAINING TIMOTHY Ministry InvolvementSpiritual growth comes only as weconnect with Jesus. It cannot beproduced by human beings simplyperforming specific tasks, evenwitnessing and evangelism tasks.A church cannot “program” spiritua-lity into its members. However, it is agreat truth that as believers respondto God’s call to be disciples, theirpersonal walk with the Lord deepensand strengthens.Although we should not engage in witnessing and evangelism solelyin an attempt to grow spiritually, when undertaken with a genuine lovefor God and for the lost, these activities bring numerous spiritualblessings to all involved.
Read John 7:17. What does this verse tell us about doing God’s will and increased spiritual growth?A valid question is, “How can a person seeking truth be sure when the genuinehas been found?” In verse 17 Jesus presents a truth that will help all who want tofollow Him. Those who are willing to do God’s will can know if a doctrine is, or isnot, of God. How can this be? Clearly there is spiritual growth through connec-tedness. Jesus is saying that those who are living up to received Bible truth willreceive greater light. There is a strong connection between hearing and doing(see Rev. 1:3). Those who do God’s will, however little of His will they know, willbe blessed with a deepening Christian relationship which, coupled with prayerfulBible study, will lead to greater revelations of truth and exciting spiritual growth.
Read John 4:36. Whatare the spiritualwages received as aresult of beinginvolved in theharvest of souls?What spiritualfellowship issuggested by thesower and reaperrejoicing together? Many commentators suggest that the disciples were reaping where John theBaptist and Jesus had sown. The Samaritan woman herself had clearly plantedsome gospel seed among the people of her town. How they must have rejoiced together as the ripened spiritual harvest was gathered into the kingdom. Success through working together in witnessing and evangelism creates abond between God and us and between us as fellow believers. As we respondto God’s call to be involved in soul winning, this bond, this spiritual closeness c and growth, blossoms as a natural result of being on God’s team.
REFLECTION How has your own faith been strengthened through your own personal witness, both from success and failures?How does witnessing impact your relationship with the Lord?
5. Bringing HarmonyThrough InvolvementThere is a phenomenon that issometimes difficult to explainbut can best be described as“circular influence.” Concerningharmony and involvement, circularinfluence goes like this: by gettingpeople involved you promoteharmony, which in turn encouragespeople to become involved, whichin turn promotes harmony.You can see the circular-influence principle at work. It is clearly demonstratedin the old saying that those who are pulling on the oars don’t have time torock the boat.There were some key decisions made in the development of the earlychurch’s organization that could have caused major conflict, but the personalpreferences of the believers were submitted to what was best for the task thattheir Lord had given them.
Consider theappointment processrecorded in Acts 1:15–26. Al-though we don’tcast lots today, whatkey points were theylooking for here, andwhat principles can PAUL AND BARNABASwe take from this DISAGREEMENTexample for the workof ministry today?Of course, whenever human beings are working together, there is thepotential for conflict. We would be right in assuming that the evil oneis working to undermine the effectiveness of believers. It is only fair,then, that we briefly review an incident in the evangelistic ministry ofthe early church where the conflict was real.
Examine Acts 15:36–40. What caused the difference of opinion between Paul and Barnabas? What was the result of Paul was reluctant to take their John Mark on his next trip. disagreement, and what can we learn from it? On a previous missionary trip, John Mark had left Paul and his other companions and returned to Jerusalem. It seems that this incident (see Acts 13:13) made Paul reluctant to take John Mark along on this currenttrip. But Barnabas saw it would benefit both John Mark and the venture to take John Mark along. Consequently, while Paul chose Silas to accompany him, Barnabas traveled with John Mark.
There was no argumentregarding what missionarywork should be done, andrather than let personaldifferences overshadowthe evangelistic task,they sent out twowitnessing groups.Although Paul and John did work profitably together again(see 2 Tim. 4:11), their differences at this time were notallowed to interfere with their mission.
REFLECTION Think of someone with whom you might be struggling now in church.How much humility, death to self, andwillingness to forgive and to turn theother cheek will you need in order to bring reconciliation?
Further Study: Setting RealisticMinistry Time Frames. As mentioned inlast Friday’s Further Study section, 12months is a good length of time to planahead. Depending on what witnessingand evangelism program you areplanning, specific time frames will varywith different goal strategies andpriorities. However, there are somegeneral points to consider.1. Document what you aim to achievethroughout these next 12 months. Specifydesires in terms of people anddiscipleship, not just the completion ofprograms.2.Write out a procedural time line. This can be as detailed as you like, butmake sure that it is not too brief. It shouldin-clude major training times, programstart and finish dates, and set evaluationtimes.
3. As you document major stages of the program,make sure that you also specify which individuals orteams are responsible at those times.4. Document how your program strategies integratewith the overall witnessing and evangelism programof the church. Specify where and how other churchstrategies will support yours and where yours willstrengthen those of the church. This will help you toremember that you are a part of a larger team and ofthe need to work together.5. Seriously consider whether your program will beongoing or whether it will be repeated the nextchurch year. This will help you determine whatongoing recruitment training will need to beundertaken. If your program is a developing ministry,each evaluation session will also need to have aforward-looking time.
ADAPT it! Effective for SMALL GROUPS Teaching ApproachASSOCIATE truth – Why should I study this lesson?DISCOVER truth – What does the Bible say about thistruth?APPLY truth – How can this truth affect my life today?PLAN using the truth – How can I use this truth today?TRANSFER truth to life – What changes do I need in mylife ? We invite you to download and study each one of the 13 lessons about “Evangelism and Witnessing” Slideshare.net/chucho1943
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