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Sabbath School Lessons on Evangelism and Witnessing
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 2: Every Member Ministry *
Introduction: Last week we considered the difference between
witnessing (the personal story we have to tell) and evangelism (our
explanation of the gospel). We discussed the idea of "nudge"
evangelism - that we should pay attention to every situation and
every word we say so that we nudge people towards the gospel and not
away from it. It is hard to get our own story wrong, but some of us
are not too sure about how to explain the gospel - or even our
proper role in the explanation. Since we could get it wrong, should
we leave the "tricky stuff" to the experts - the people we pay to do
ministry? Let's dive into our Bible and find out!
- Every Member Evangelism?
- Read Ephesians 4:1-2. What call is made to every one of
us? (To be humble, patient, gentle and loving. To live a
life worthy of being called a Christian.)
- Is this witnessing?
- Read Ephesians 4:3-6. Is ministry something that we do on
our own? (No. Unity is a priority.)
- Read Ephesians 4:7-8. What role is there, if any, for the
individual? (The individual is an important part of the
whole. It is the individual, not the whole, who is given
"gifts." These gifts ("grace") have "been given as Christ
- I generally think of "grace" as God's gift of
salvation to me. Could you have different levels of
that? (No. It is hard to imagine that God gives 50%
salvation to some. In this context grace must mean
other kinds of gifts from God.)
- What does that suggest to us about the gospel work?
(We are not identical parts of the whole. Instead,
we are individuals, with individual gifts. The
extent and type of gift vary. But, we are still
working as a whole.)
- Read Ephesians 4:11-13. Are all evangelists? (Clearly,
- Is the title of this study wrong? If only some are
given the gift of evangelism, then only some of us
are called to evangelize, right? (If the title were
"Every Member Evangelism," we would have a problem.
But, the title is "Every Member Ministry." That
simply means that everyone has a role in ministry.)
- Look again at the specific gifts which are listed in
these verses. What relationship do these gifts have
to the gospel? (Each is geared towards advancing the
- What is the goal of all of these gifts? (To promote
unity in faith, to promote knowledge of Jesus, to
create mature Christians and teach people to attain
"the fullness of Christ.")
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. How is this list of gifts
different than the list we just studied? (The prior list
was of jobs. This list is of abilities.)
- What is common to the two lists? (These jobs and
abilities come from God in a measure determined by
God. They are for the good of the entire body of
- What are we to conclude, then, about our personal
obligation with regard to ministry? (We need to determine
what abilities and gifts God has given us, and then
accept the appointment to the appropriate job.)
- The list of jobs seems pretty high level to me. The list
of abilities seems impressive to me. What if we do not
have those gifts and abilities? (Read 1 Corinthians
12:11-13. Verse 11 says "each one" gets a gift. We all
have a role, a ministry, of one type or another.)
- How Do We Know Our Job?
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-21. I see three types of
extremes in the church. Some members say they have no
particular role or job because they have no particular
ability. Some members want to fill the role of "higher"
level jobs, but are not qualified. When they are denied
these roles, they become insulted and angry and quit the
church. Some members hold high positions and do not
rightly value the work of others. What is the solution
to these extremes? (Everyone has at least one gift.
Everyone is lacking some other gift(s). We need to focus
on our gifts, and value those who have other gifts -
gifts we might not have.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-31. Is it appropriate for a
"foot" to want to become an "eye?" (We are told that we
should "eagerly desire the greater gifts." There is
nothing wrong with ambition to do great things for God.
But, until we are given that gift, those in foot and hand
positions should be excellent feet and hands, rather than
complaining about not being eyes and noses. The important
part is to distinguish between an ambition to advance the
Kingdom of God and ambition to advance yourself.)
- How Evangelism Works
- Read John 4:35. When is the time for us to engage in
evangelism? (Now. We need to open our eyes to our nudge
- If your eyes have been closed, how do you open them?
(Just being alert is one way. But, the more
important way is to ask the Holy Spirit to open your
- Read John 4:36-38. What strikes you as being unusual
about this job? (We have completely different roles in
evangelism. Few do the entire work. The most exciting
work is "harvesting" for eternal life.)
- Let's try to put all of this together. We learned that
not everyone is an "evangelist" ( Ephesians 4:11). We
learned that we all have different gifts and abilities (1
Corinthians 12:7-10). We learned that even evangelists
have different roles in evangelism. Does that mean that
some of us are released from duty when it comes to
- Let's go back to our last lesson. What is the
difference between witnessing and evangelism?
(Witnessing is telling our personal story.
Evangelism is explaining the gospel story.)
- Who is most talented, has the best gift, for telling
your story? (You! We are all called to duty to tell
those we know and meet about what God has meant to
us in our life. We can tell stories about God's
blessings and guidance. We can witness about our
mistakes in turning from God.)
- Should you call in an expert to explain the gospel
story? (If you are the "ham man" we discussed last
week, then you should call in those with the gift of
evangelism. But, everyone should know (or learn) the
basic gospel story: that the God of the Universe
came down from heaven, humbled Himself to become a
human, lived a perfect life in our place,
voluntarily died on the cross for our sins, and was
raised from the dead to return to heaven. Jesus
offers us the opportunity to confess our sins,
accept His perfect life in the place of our
imperfect life, accept Jesus' death in our place,
and live in the promise of a resurrection to eternal
- When I was a kid, my Dad did some fairly serious
gardening with my "help." From this I know that farming
involves all sorts of different jobs. Have you ever
visited a church that is in poor repair? Have you ever
visited a church that was dirty? Have you ever visited a
church that had uncomfortable seats and terrible interior
decorating? Do you think that those who work to make the
church building clean, in good repair, and comfortable to
the bottom and the eyes are evangelists? (Absolutely! If
you say, "I like being here," then you are more likely to
say, "I want to stay and focus on the message.")
- What other kinds of "evangelism" jobs can we find in
the church which are not what we traditionally
consider to be evangelism? (What about greeters! A
friendly, warm greeting makes you glad you came.)
- Just as we should be looking at every word and every
opportunity for nudge evangelism, should we also
look at every aspect of our church and our church
program? (Sometimes we don't take the program
seriously. How many times is the program the result
of last-minute planning, or filled with "last
minute" volunteers, or people who seem to have been
recruited for the job thirty seconds before they
spoke? None of this gives a favorable nudge.)
- Friend, there is nothing wrong with saying "I'll leave
evangelism to the gifted evangelist." But, you are the
gifted one when it comes to your witness. All sorts of
work and gifts go into evangelism. You cannot leave your
gift and your job to someone else. Will you determine
today to focus on your gift(s), and strive for excellence
to advance the Kingdom of God?
- Next week: Spiritual Gifts for Evangelism and Witnessing.
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.