We listen to the message from the church and para-church, exhorting us to obey the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). We hear it from the pulpit, in Sunday School, in the lobby, in the small group, in youth group, in Christian association meetings, and many other venues. To paraphrase – “Just do it”, we are told.
Because you are a Christian (whether for 1 day or 4 decades), are you equiped intellectually or emotionally to step right out in witness? Judging by the number of believers who do so, countless conversations about it, and other annecdotal evidence, I would have to conclude that the answer is no. Based upon these sources, I would actually go farther and say, in most cases: not equiped, not practically supported, not effectively aided, not followed up, just exhorted. Doesn’t that sound impractical?
In fairness, this is neither deliberate nor negligent. Those (including us all at times) doing the exhorting are very sincere, and often not well equiped themselves. Even it they are equiped and skilled, their equiping is often based upon an approach grounded in and evolved from their own faith. As such, it may not be easily transferable, and in many cases they are not skilled in communicating nor transferring it. In fact, if they are good at it, they may not see what the problem is at all.
Does this mean that average Christian does not wish to obey the command of our Lord to go forth boldly? Again, not at all. Most wish sincerely to do so. It might be suggested that we do not go forth simply because we make excuses. That is likely partially true, but the essence of it is that many, if not most, simply do not have the tools that would give them the confidence and internal support to make the attempt. Without the confidence that at least rudimentary equiping brings, it will simply not happen in most cases.
Does equiping involve developing advance theological or scriptural knowledge? To exaggerate a bit, do you need an MDIV to witness? While those skills are certainly valuable and might occasionally be useful, they are not necessary. All that is necessary is a very basic knowledge. If that were not the case, the Lord would be setting up a system that excluded all but a few, with the rest doomed to failure. It would seem clear that He does not have that in mind. Remember that it is the Spirit that does the actual work, not the presenter. A requirement for special knowledge would move the onus back to the presenter.
So, what is needed? Basic, simple, transferable technique, and consistent training.
With the confidence that normally develops from basic training and practice, there is a much higher probability that most, if not all, Christians can be equiped emotionally to feel that they could step out with the Gospel. Notice that we said emotionally, not practically, intellectually, knowledgeably, nor any other ‘ably’. Not that those components are not needed, but discussion with numerous believers would indicate that it is the emotional reaction that mostly holds us back. Even rudimentary equiping begins to bridge that gap, bringing at least the possibility of action where none was emotionally possible before.
Is this process necessary for all believers? Likely not. But experience and honest evaluation would indicate that it is necessary to one degree or another for most. Is witnessing possible with out this approach? Certainly, for the Lord fundamentally equips all believers through the Spirit. However, if the number of the Saints stepping out with ease and confidence today is any indication, helping eachother in this way would assist us all.
What a joyous thought, to help each believer gain the basic confidence and security to act in this most basic obedience to our Lord!
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Let us use the gifts that He has given us, through His Grace, to equip eachother for joyous obedience.
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