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Lesson 6: Personal Evangelism and Witnessing

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Q2 SS-2012 Lesson 6: Personal Evangelism & Witnessing: (read Lesson 6)

 Evangelism and witnessing are essentially two sides of the same coin.  They both serve the same purpose of presenting the good news of salvation to others and encouraging them to accept Jesus as their Savior.  They both are essential to church growth. They differ primarily in duration. Evangelism is generally a planned series of meetings in which sequential lessons are presented, while witnessing is often a spontaneous opportunity to share with others one’s personal testimony of the good news of salvation. Evangelism seeks a wider audience, while witnessing focuses on the individual, sharing with him Jesus’ love for us, the ultimate sacrifice He made for us, and His imminent return to take us home with Him.  Both the evangelist and the witness are ambassadors for Christ, personally representing Him as they carry His message to the world. While both of these endeavors are necessary for church growth, personal witnessing, doubtless, contributes to both the growth of the church and the growth of the individual.

Personal witnessing is indeed a less formal approach to soul winning than evangelism (a word that is not found in the New Testament).  The witness, a Brother John (or a Sister Mary), focuses on the individual. He can witness every day, any day, any place, any time, knowing that the world is his harvest field and that when he works his field, his efforts will yield a more diverse harvest for the local church.

In The Ministry of Healing, Ellen G. White states, “We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but that which will be the most effectual is the testimony of our own experience. We are witnesses for God as we reveal in ourselves the working of a power that is divine.” (p. 100). In other words, Ellen White is exhorting us as ambassadors of Christ to help finish the work by engaging in personal witnessing.  She is not emphasizing that we preach to others en masse, but to simply share with others our knowledge of and personal experiences with Christ: what He has done for us, what He is doing for us, and what He will do for us because of His love for us.  Of course, we can share only if we have! If we do not have a relationship with Christ, if we do not personally know Him, what can we share?

It is certainly true today that the electronic media have caused this world to shrink into a global village. People the world over are being informed of “breaking news” instantly. Distance is no longer a hindrance to instant communication.  But such a mode of communication may not be ideal for the ambassador of Christ.  What Christ’s ambassador does, as Christ’s representative, is to deliver the message by personal contact, including giving a firm handshake, returning a genuine smile, and joining in the exuberance or the compassion that his message evokes.  On the other hand, the listener can observe the inter-personality of the ambassador, the congruence of his words and action, the profession of his love for Christ and his attitude toward the listener.

Many of us resist the call to become involved in witnessing and evangelism.  We think that we are not as qualified as others, that we are not as gifted as others.  We complain that we are “slow of speech” and that we do not have the ability to motivate people.  We fail to realize that God Himself can perform the task or that He could have His angels, perhaps in the form of man, do it for Him.  We fail to realize that God knows our potential and that His calling us is indicative of His knowing us “infinitely better than we know ourselves.”  So when we hear God’s call to go, we may want to ask Him to help us prepare for the task for which He has called us; He will certainly equip us with the ability and confidence to represent Him.

Key Questions - Sabbath, May 12th
  1. Where is your personal mission field?
  2. Have you checked the field that abuts your home?
  3. Have you checked the fields through which you pass on your way to church?

Q2 SS-2012 Lesson 6: Personal Evangelism & Witnessing: (read Lesson 6)

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