Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2012
Equipping for Evangelism and Witnessing
Text: Matthew 4:19; 11:1-11; 10:1-14; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 3:9.
From July 27 through August 12, much of the world will be focused on London where the 2012 Olympics will take place. In anticipation, the Olympic Flame began its journey last Saturday at the Land’s End Signpost in Cornwall. One hundred thirty-nine Torchbearers will proudly carry the Flame through 21 communities until it arrives at its final destination, Plymouth Hoe.1
Athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees will be participating in the games, which include 183 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The games will feature 28 sports and a total of 39 disciplines.2
Swimming has always been a favorite of many viewers, and this year will be no exception as all eyes will be on Michael Phelps—winner of 14 gold medals. He has been hailed the greatest athlete of all time. But success didn’t come easily for him. He had to work at it. He’s had to train for success. As a boy Michael was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). As an outlet for his energy, he began swimming when he was seven years old. Little did he know that the many of hours of swimming would turn him into an Olympic hero.
Now Michael swims to win. And his training includes a whole body approach. For instance, his diet is a big part of his training. While the average man needs only 2,000 calories a day, Phelps consumes a staggering 12,000 calories daily. Jon Wade of MotleyHealth magazine gives us a peek into Phelps breakfast training diet: “His breakfast typically consists of three fried egg sandwiches topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise, toast, an omelet, porridge, three pancakes and two cups of coffee.”3
When it comes to exercise, he trains for six hours, six days a week, and allows nothing to get in the way. Wade says, “Even if Christmas day falls on a training day, he does a full day of training. Total dedication to his training program has made him a world champion.” This faithful training adds up to swimming 50 miles each week.
If these Olympic athletes spend years training to equip their bodies for the Games, shouldn’t we Christians take seriously the work of training and equipping ourselves to evangelize and witness? After all, this type of training can have eternal significance!
Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 9:37: “ ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’ ” If that was the case 2,000 years ago, then surely both the harvest and laborer numbers are greater today. So how do we train and equip ourselves for such an awesome task? This week’s lesson gives some helpful Scripture-based suggestions: we learn by observing, by doing, through failure, and through success.
Will it take time to equip yourself for evangelism and witnessing? Yes. Will you need to be humble enough to learn from others? Yes. Will you probably at times fail? Yes. Will the successes be worth it? Yes! More than all the gold medals one could ever win.