When I say “local witness” I mean two different things.  The first meaning is how the community sees you.  You have to be a good neighbor.  Be known as friendly.  Be known for keeping the property presentable and helping the older neighbors.  Be known for providing valuable services to the neighborhood children.  Maintain a good reputation.

And make sure you provide an authentic, consistent message of why your are a church and not just a social service agency.  Always be ready to share the witness of you christian faith.

There is a “parallel dichotomy” within the Christian church when describing the purpose of our salvation.  On the one hand, we are saved for fellowship with God, for worshipping him totally with all of our being and for performing acts of worship.  And we are also told to “go tell” what God has done in our lives.  We are to be in the habit of looking for opportunities to share our faith, either to worship God in the meeting of another believer or to share the good news with someone who is not yet part of the family of faith.

Bill Hybels, pastor of the hugely successful Willow Creek Community Church, near Chicago, says that “God wants lost people found.[1]”  We are called to go find them.

The “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:18-20 is not so much a call to send out professional Christians to be Evangelists to the lost, but for all of us, in every relationship, in every conversation, to speak words of the faith, whether encouragement, wisdom, or the judgment that leads to salvation.  Wherever you go, if to the grocery store, the bank, the office, the auto repair shop, or the school, make it a witnessing opportunity.

I’ve learned a number of evangelism “systems”, but have had the most success in establishing some level of relationship first.  Start a conversation: chit chat about the weather, about standing in line, about anything.  Especially living in transient communities, you can always ask: how long have they’ve lived in this area, and how well they like living there.  The point is to start a conversation.  Start a conversation so you can – when the time is ready – bring up spiritual topics.

And then what?  what do you say?  According to David Garrison, missiologist who authored “Church Planting Movements”, you “tell your story” of who you were before Jesus, how you met Him, and what it’s meant to you since.

[1] Bill Hybels, 70.

This page will be written about the need for Evangelism.  Evangelism is telling others about who you are and why you are a church.  It’s making recommendations about a better way to live that the other can accept or not.



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