As I consider the lessons that I have learned in this course concerning my calling to be a witness for the Lord comes the realization that a pure life centered in a constant worship of the Lord and a consistent sharing of my faith is necessary to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. I have realized that my devotional life, the practice of sharing my faith and caring for the lost has waned and is inconsistent. This has produced a conviction that has provoked my spirit. When I was watching the video presentations by Dr. Wheeler during the first two weeks of class work concerning his statements that we walk by lost people every day and do not even say hello or converse with them, evoked mental pictures that he was speaking about me.[footnoteRef:1] I know that this reference was to Christians in general. However, his statement described me perfectly. [1: Dr. David Wheeler. Learning to Listen (Video Presentation), Directed and Produced by Liberty University, Performed by Dr. David Wheeler, 2010.]
As a minster of Jesus Christ, I understand the importance of sharing your faith and have led several people to Christ throughout the years, but lately the opportunities have not been coming as frequent as they had previously. As I have explored this issue, two things occurred to me. First, I have been discouraged by the lack of slow growth in our church plant and subsequently, have not been paying attention to opportunities presented by the Holy Spirit. Secondly, my personal life has not been as pure as it should be due to personal failings to my family, myself and most importantly, my Lord. This class has encouraged me in my quest to lead people to Jesus Christ in salvation. I am challenged to set objectives and goals to be a true worshipper of the Lord in obedience to Him.
The consideration that worship and evangelism go together to develop a true worshipper of Christ never occurred to me deeply. By many, they are viewed as separate entities in the church and evangelism is often negated in favor of worship.[footnoteRef:2] However, as Wheeler and Whaley state in The Great Commission to Worship, “…understanding the concept of worship as living an obedient life is essential to grasping the connection between worship and its relationship to evangelism and the Great Commission.”[footnoteRef:3] [2: David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley. The Great Commission to Worship, (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2011), 10-11.] [3: Ibid. Wheeler and Whaley, 13.]
Being a worshipper is not simply going to Sunday and raising your hands in praise to God and experiencing a wonderful music service. That is an emotional response to the feelings that we experience in worship of the Lord. Moreover, that is an essential response during times of corporate worship, however, in true worship I am seeking to live obediently to the Lord on a daily basis. One is seeking to be obedient to His Word. Hence, to be an effective witness that consistently shares one’s faith is to follow the Word in its entirety. Part of the Word of God states that we must be pure in heart to perceive what God is speaking into our lives. Likewise, it is possible for us to recognize the voice of God. John 10:4 states, “He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” Therefore, if I am experiencing trouble discerning God’s voice, then as a believer, I am not in right relationship with the Lord.
In Luke 11:33-36, Jesus speaks about the keys to spiritual perception. Having just conversed with those about the spiritual blindness of His generation in verses 29-32, Jesus speaks to the question of whose fault it is when there is a lack of spiritual perception. In so doing, He taught that the key to spiritual perception is a heart that is pure. He said in Luke 11, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”[footnoteRef:4] The point here is that when it comes to God revealing Himself to us, God does not hide Himself from us, but works to reveal Him to us and we can discern Him when we are full of light which is a pure life for the Lord.[footnoteRef:5] [4: Luke 11:33-36, (NIV).] [5: Pastor Dave McFadden and Pastor Gene Smith. How God Speaks (sermon), written by Dave McFadden and Gene Smith, 2014.]
Thus, this is part of the personal vision for my future evangelistic lifestyle. A specific change that must be made in my life to be a pure worshipper who is sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit when seeking individuals to witness to is live a purer life before the Lord. I believe that the Lord cannot effectively use one of His children if they are reverting back to their unredeemed ways and experiencing a darkened understanding as what the Apostle Paul refers to in Ephesians 4:17-18. The steps to a purer life for my Lord to be an effective witness and worshipper will be: first, to practice a consistent lifestyle of prayer and study of His Word for my personal growth. “You cannot be an on-mission Christian, one that carries the message, the power, the strength and the salvation of the Father unless you are in daily communication with the “Mission Commander”.”[footnoteRef:6] [6: Jerry Pipes and Victor Lee. Family to Family: Leaving a Lasting Legacy, (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Jerry Pipes Productions, 1999), 104.]
As Wheeler and Whaley state in Worship and Witness, transformation is needed to be the best possible follower you can be for the Lord. They state, “Your regeneration was a total change of your very nature from the inside out.”[footnoteRef:7] I was regenerated when I came to know Christ as my Savior, but my transformation is ongoing because of being renewed daily and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ according to Romans 12:2 and 2 Peter 3:18. Part of the planned transformation in my future is to re-study the Worship and Witness workbook with my congregation and to lead them through it so they will be spurred to become obedient worshippers who share their faith consistently. [7: Ibid. Wheeler and Whaley, 39.]
As a church planter, I seek to lead people to the Lord through a genuine salvation experience. However, as I stated, my personal efforts of consistently witnessing to people has waned. Changes need to be made in how I seek out the lost, discover ways to effectively share my faith, understand the urgency of lostness in today’s world and consistently share my faith. One method, as Jerry Pipes intimated in his book is to interact with people in your circles of influence. They called it “concentric circles.” In these circles, I intend to specifically list the names of family members, close friends, neighbors, co-workers/acquaintances and the like that my family and I can do “ministry evangelism” too.[footnoteRef:8] [8: Ibid. Pipes and Lee, 72-82.]
These actions are intended not only to personally work on leading others to faith in Christ, but to influence my family in becoming on-mission with God. My wife and I have discussed the changes needed within our family to become an effective Great Commission worshipping family. There are many areas that we need to work on to bring about changes in our family life. We need to make and see changes in our family becoming increasingly spiritually healthy through regularly scheduled times of quality and spiritually sound entertainment and fun activities. First, we plan to have game nights and pizza on Fridays for the five of us to spend wholesome time with one another, but also to invite some of our children’s friends who come from broken families. We have discovered that these children are hungry for, and are searching for purpose. They want to be loved and valued. We have committed to help these children with the endorsement of their families.
Secondly, as the father of the family, I intend to make changes to how I minister to my wife when it comes to household management and the like. This will alleviate her of the total responsibility, but also create a healthy relationship of bigger trust and love in our marital relationship.
Third, we need to immediately establish a time for family Bible study. Whether it is morning or evening, we will create a relaxed time for our family to sit and read the Word of God together and discuss its implications for our lives. We also want to take our children, if plausible, through the Worship and Witness workbook and the Family to Family book as well. Along, with this study time, times of prayer are being practiced together as a family, and encouragement for them to employ prayer throughout their day to feel the abiding presence of the Lord in their lives and grow close to Him.
Fourth, we aspire to develop a family mission statement that defines who we are as a family that honors the Lord and is on mission with Him. Moreover, it will be to guide us as a family and give structure and purpose to our children’s lives as they live before the Lord. We want them to understand who they are and to accept themselves as they are which will lead them to live confident lives before the Lord in His Spirit. This is intended so their lives will be a witness to others and spur a desire in their lost family and friend’s lives to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. The ultimate endeavor is to develop godly children that will one day build and develop their own godly families that will be on-mission families as well. Finally, we desire to coach our children to be vigorous and intentional witnesses for the Lord. This will automatically be established as they begin to practice a regular prayer life and study His Word by growing in grace and knowledge. We have discussed this with them and they desire to start these changes in their lives and our family. They have expressed their own desire to start a nightly prayer time and reading of His Word. We are first going to start teaching them the scriptures by singing them together through the use of the piano or guitar.
On the other hand, they need to understand the urgency for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. They need to understand that we are commanded to go and make disciples according the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and Mark 16. Part of the action plan is to teach what Salvation truly means according to the scriptures. Then teach them to start witnessing in their own relationships with family, friends and acquaintances. However, before they can do this, we want to teach them different methods of how to share the gospel. Some of the methods that we will use are tract witnessing methods through use of the Four Spiritual Laws developed by Bill Bright of Campus Crusades and the Here’s Hope tract from the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
In addition, I want use a small number of witnessing methods such as Share Jesus Without Fear by William Fay, More to Life by Dennis Pethers and The Net by N.A.M.B. of the Southern Baptist Convention and for them to eventually have a memory process of using scriptures and questions in the classic, Romans Road, witnessing method. As I consider the impact of all these changes, it will include changes of how I will implement them into the ministry of our new church plant. It is in the process already as we are discussing a whole additional discipleship method of evangelism that incorporates these ideas of worship and evangelism being inseparable. The plan is lead our folks, as mentioned earlier, through the Worship and Witness workbook material, as well as the Family to Family material. Also, we have not intentionally planned or conducted a study on knowing and developing methods of sharing their faith. For that reason, some want to go through the study of Share Jesus Without Fear and I would like to lead them through the More to Life study by Dennis Pethers. Perhaps, we will study both of them. There is also a deep desire to go through the Experiencing God study by Henry Blackaby as a curriculum for becoming an obedient worshipper of the Lord. The excellence of his study is that it encourages, for the most part, discovering where God is working and joining Him in that work. Rather than inviting Him to join us in what we are doing, we obediently join Him in the accomplishment of His purposes.
There are many areas that need to be developed in my personal life, family life, the lives of those in our community and in the work of our local church plant and this course has encouraged and uplifted my heart to be renewed and continually transformed by the renewing of my mind and encouraging other to do so as well. One area that has impacted me as a leader is the fact that if I do not care deeply, then those following me as their under-shepherd will not care deeply and the sheep will disburse into areas of life that could be spiritually devastating.
I do not want to live a half-hearted attempt of sharing the gospel with those who are lost in front of those that I lead. As Will McRaney stated in, The Art of Personal Evangelism, the narrowest definition of understanding our role in evangelism is to either, engage in one approach that uses and “…allows us the excuse, “I told them” or the other excuse, “I lived it in front of them.”[footnoteRef:9] Neither of these statements are adequate and many use them to make excuse and appear to be evangelizers. As William Fay said in, Share Jesus Without Fear, there are those who talk the need for sharing their faith and those who actually do share their faith.[footnoteRef:10] [9: Will McRaney. The Art of Personal Evangelism, (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2003), 43.] [10: William Fay and Linda Evans Shephard. Share Jesus Without Fear. (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 1999).]
The need of God’s people to be real about their Christian faith is needed more now than it ever has been before. We live in a post-modern world where matters of Christian faith are growing increasingly unimportant every day. So as this material has encouraged this student in his faith, I am going to do as Joshua stated in Joshua 24:15, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”[footnoteRef:11] A whole host of changes are about to be wrought in my personal life through prayer, obedience to the Lord in His Word concerning evangelism, consistently sharing my faith, loving my neighbor and being on-mission with my family for His glory and purposes. True biblical evangelism is going to take a high priority in my life, my family life, my interactions in the community and in the life of our local church. [11: Joshua 24:15b, (KJV).]