In Mark 6:30 (NIV) following Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand, it is recorded that “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.” This introduces an important reminder for the church today emphasized in this week’s lesson, “Let the Church Know”
Reporting is a biblical principle. The foundation of this biblical principle was laid by Jesus during his earthly ministry, and practiced by his disciples and members of the early church as recorded throughout the book of Acts in this week’s study.
Acts 21:19-25 says "Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. When they heard this, they praised God.”
Reporting is an essential part of evangelism and witnessing. There are four major components of reporting that are powerfully illustrated in this section of our study.
1. The importance of reporting
Sharing with the church through witnessing experiences encourages and motivates others to share their faith as well. It also cultivates personal boldness, excitement and joy to know that one can partner with God to share the gospel. It informs of the evangelistic work of the local and worldwide church. This activates others to participate in witnessing and helps to build the church,
Acts 5:14 “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women”
2. The reason for reporting
Reporting may be done because it is required, or it may be done to inspire growth. The motivation for reports will determine the quality of the reports and the outcome. In the story of the twelve spies (Numbers13:26-33), examples of varied motives are reported.
“They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported.” The spies were given one mission, but produced two different reports with different motivations. Church reporting will be inspired by our willingness to share how well or how not so well we are doing in sharing our faith. The reports will then declare how well we are doing the will of God.
3. Types of reports
Reports can be statistical or reported stories (personal or mission stories). Both types were used effectively in the early church. In Acts 14:21, Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch in Syria, and it was reported that “They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples.” A combination of statistics and stories is more compelling that either by itself. Both together paint a picture, provide encouragement points to God and inspire conversion.
4. Results and truth of reporting
An evangelistic or church report has accomplished its mission if at the end of the report, the hearers can glorify God.
Acts11:18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
How do we report bad news? What do we do if a church program is not working well? If we attribute success in evangelism to the Lord, whom do we blame if things are not going well?
Food for thought
There must be absolute truth in all reporting, and all reports must give glory to God.