Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2012
Defining Evangelism and Witnessing
Text: Acts 4:33, 13:48; 1 John 1:3; Acts 13:1-49, 22:2-21; 1 Peter 3:15.
One year ago USA Today printed and article that both surprised and delighted many Adventists. The surprise and delight was that, “Newly released data show Seventh-day Adventism growing by 2.5% in North America, a rapid clip for this part of the world, where Southern Baptists and mainline denominations, as well as other church groups are declining. Adventists are even growing 75% faster than Mormons (1.4 percent), who prioritize numeric growth.”1
The article also noted that the church is growing twice as fast oversees, and credits this growth to our global focus. Here are some statistics of what our church is doing around the world:2
Our church has:
71,048 churches and 65,553 companies
17,272 active ordained ministers
established work in 209 countries around the globe
7,806 schools with a total enrollment of 1,668,754
173 hospitals and sanitariums
36 orphanages and children’s homes
63 publishing houses and branches that publish in 377 languages
6,994 credentialed and licensed literature evangelists
ADRA involved in supporting and implementing in 131 countries
When you look at these figures, it certainly seems that we are fulfilling Jesus command in this week’s memory text: “ ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ ”
We are “going” that’s for sure. But are we ALL going? Is every Seventh-day Adventist doing what he or she can to spread the good news of the coming of Jesus? It’s certainly easier and more comfortable to let someone else do it—the paid pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and teachers. It’s more convenient to give an offering once a year to ADRA or to our publishing houses so someone else do the work. But if we do this we’re missing out! We’re missing out on the joy that comes from sharing the gospel personally.
We don’t need to go oversees to fulfill the Great Commission. We can fulfill it in our communities, neighborhoods, and families. Although the word “witnessing” can sound intimidating, Jesus made it sound fairly simple when He said to the man who He healed, “ ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’ ” That’s what witnessing is: sharing the great things God has done for you. Sharing about real-life struggles and how God helped you through them. You don’t need a dramatic conversion story in order to witness. Some of the most beautiful stories come from people who have been Christians their whole lives.
When we have a close connection with Jesus, witnessing will be something we will want to do. Something we can’t help but do. It’s hard to keep good news a secret!
Additional resource: You Tube
1. http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-18-Adventists_17_ST_N.htm?csp=34news 2