Well-planned Witnessing

It seems strange that this plan of territorial assignment breaks down at the local church level the very area where great efficiency is needed if "every creature" is to hear the message. We are faced with a situation at the local church level similar to what we might expect in a local conference if the president failed to as sign specific territorial responsibility to the ministers. . .

-associate director of It Is Written at the time this article was written

WE MUST ever be conscious that our commission is to "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). We are not simply another denomination competing for members. The justification for the existence of this movement is the preaching of the last-day message in a gospel outreach designed to reach all men every where. Our world organization is structured with this goal in mind. From the General Conference to the local conference we carefully define areas of responsibility. Specific persons have individual responsibility for specific geographic areas.

It seems strange that this plan of territorial assignment breaks down at the local church level the very area where great efficiency is needed if "every creature" is to hear the message. We are faced with a situation at the local church level similar to what we might expect in a local conference if the president failed to as sign specific territorial responsibility to the ministers.

Two possible objections to the foregoing comparison come to mind. The church member is not paid a salary by the church, there fore the pastor might hesitate to delegate specific duties to him, and in most cases the church member has not been trained to do this kind of work. Both objections are answered by one brief statement from the Spirit of Prophecy: "God expects His church to discipline and fit its members for the work of enlightening the world. . . . There should be no delay in this well-planned effort to educate the church members." --Christian Service, p. 58.

For a long time we have admonished our people with generalizations. That which is needed now is not exhortation, but specific assignment of soul-winning responsibility. There is also a need for on-the-job training to equip our members to fulfill their assignments. Another great need is that of adequate supervision to perpetuate a lay witness program.

Our growth rate can be greatly increased if we remove witnessing from the area of competition with a multitude of other activities and give it the priority it deserves and must have before our mission can be accomplished.

Anyone who has engaged in house-to-house visitation knows that a percentage of people in any area will respond favorably to a religious visit. Wherever we have members they may claim the promise: "My brethren and sisters, there are souls in your neighborhood who, if they were judiciously labored for, would be converted." -Evangelism, p. 114.

The rapid growth of the Latter-day Saints and the Jehovah's Witnesses demonstrates that there are people to be won if we will go out searching for them. In many instances it is a case of who gets there first that decides which group will win the new converts.

Essential to the success of Christian mission is the concept that we are born again to reproduce spiritually.

Witnessing must be engaged in upon a regular basis. It cannot be left to convenience. Sabbath school meets each week at a specific time on a specific day. Ingathering bands meet at a specified time and location. By contrast, witnessing is usually done (or in most cases, not done) on the basis of convenience.

It would seem that our denominational soul-winning program would be greatly strengthened if one day a week were to be set aside for witnessing. What a wonderful thing it would be if there could be witnessing bands going out from every one of our churches on one afternoon and/or evening each week. The result would be an inspiring and productive concerted drive, and a by-product would be more spontaneous witnessing at other times.

Among factors that might be listed as being essential to the success of the soul-winning program of the church are:

1. An individual conversion experience on the part of potential witnesses.

2. A recognition of the command to witness as being on a par with other divine commandments.

3. Provision of on-the-job training in the art of witnessing to all church members from the time they affiliate with the church.

4. Delegation of responsibility by the pastor to members.

5. The assignment of specific territory to each able church member.

6. The implementation of a plan to reach every home at least once a year, and where possible, once a quarter.

7. A master plan for coordinating all the soul-winning programs of the church.

8. A ceiling of 300 on the membership of a local church. In the plant and animal kingdoms growth takes place by cell division. When a cell reaches a certain size it divides and growth is potentially doubled. Experience has demonstrated that this natural principle also works in the growth of Christian congregations. When the individual congregational cell is kept by the process of cell division from getting excessively large there is increased vitality, improved health, and more rapid growth.

Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (300x250)

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
-associate director of It Is Written at the time this article was written

September 1974

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

"Take Heed to the Ministry"

DR. RICHARD HAMMILL'S concluding challenge in his expository study of Colossians at the recent Bible Conference conducted at Pacific Union College is especially directed toward the ministry of this church. His appeal centered around Paul's words recorded in verse 17 of the last chapter of this Epistle. . .

A Time of Dividing Ahead

FELLOW LEADERS, a time of shaking is just ahead! The Word of God foretells it. The Lord's last-day messenger confirms it. The experience will be a traumatic one indeed, for we will see some shaken out of this message in whom we had great confidence. There will be others whom we felt were weak in faith who will stand like rocks. You and I as leaders in His church need to be prepared for the days ahead. . .

The Adventist Emphasis

A REALISTIC look at the billions of human population in the world today may prove somewhat dis heartening to anyone who believes that Seventh-day Adventists have a message to give to the world. Christianity as a whole is losing rather than gaining dominance among world religions (numerically speaking), and Seventh-day Adventists must be reckoned but a "drop in the bucket" among Christians as a whole. . .

The Growth-Line Method of Age Dating

"The [Adventist] church recognizes that the creationist position faces some very difficult problems. . . . There is the problem of the age rings on clamshells. . . . on some fossil clams [these] seem to indicate that these clams were living on the earth 450 million years ago--just as the evolutionists insist they did."1 This quotation is from one of at least two articles 1, 2 in recent Adventist literature that have referred to clam growth rings as a difficult problem for creationists. What are these rings? How are they used in age dating? Are they a serious problem for those who accept the book of Genesis as historically accurate?

"How Long, O God?"

THE monumental pillar upon which an atheist hangs his doubts is the existence of evil. If there is a good God, why doesn't He do something about the tragedies of existence? Why is He indifferent to sorrow, pain, war, poverty, and the like?

The Cross in the 2300 Days

AS A CHURCH we take proper pride in the fact that Christ is the glorious center of every doctrine and tenet of our faith. We dare not preach any message unless it bears in visible prominence the impress of the cross. The power of Paul's ministry derived from his constant exaltation of the cross. . .

Target 80--The Bold Adventure

TARGET 80 involves the application of modern management principles to church growth and strategy. It has really captured the imagination of our administrators and departmental leaders throughout the Far Eastern Division. We have already begun to see a strong upward turn since launching this eight-year evangelistic thrust. Many areas have had more baptisms this year than for the same period in 1973. . .

The Return of the Jews

TODAY the state of Israel exists as a nation in Palestine, and approximately one sixth of the world's Jewish population reside there as citizens of the country. The establishment of the Jewish state of Israel has become a fact of modern history. . .

Adventist Mission: After a Hundred Years

AFTER a hundred years of over seas mission the Adventist Church has grown from a small community of about 6,000 believers in 1874 to a worldwide movement of nearly 2.4 million believers to day; from an exclusively America-based group to a universal church, 80 percent of whose members now live outside North America. And, if the present differences in the annual growth rates continue, ten years from now approximately 85 percent of the Adventist world membership will be found in countries outside North America. . .

The Challenge of a Total Commitment

A FEW months ago I made a startling discovery. For the first time since just after my baptism some twenty-six years ago, I really wanted the Lord to return. Not at some later date but right then, preferably that same day. . .

Above All Things

SENSING a need for a more personal contact with people, and alarmed by the news released by the U.S. Health Department that 25 million Americans suffer from hypertension and are not even aware of it, the Florida Conference has developed several Adventist Community Services centers and eighteen Mobile Screening Units. . .

Simple Home Remedies

There are few medical emergencies that can rival a burn in production of pain, potential complications, and disability. Burns may be thermal (produced by heat), chemical, or electrical in origin; there is little practical difference in either sequelae or in treatment. They are classified in severity as first, second, and third degree. . .

Protein--That Vital Ingredient (Part 1)

FOR MANY people protein has taken on special, almost magic qualities. They have been told it can be counted on as a body builder and also a body slimmer! Because of some popular reducing diets, the notion seems to be widespread that protein either does not contain any calories or it "burns up fat" in some marvelous way!

Charismatic Countdown

A professional man in your church comes to you and says he has been attending meetings of a charismatic group. He likes the warmth of the fellowship and wonders why Adventists, who emphasize the gift of prophecy, are strangely silent on tongues. If we have been blessed by one gift would we not be doubly blessed by two?

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated


Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - NAD Stewardship (160x600)