There is a problem we struggle with in the church. We believe that ministry is only done by pastors. It is the pastors job to share the Gospel. It is the youth pastors job to teach our children and teenagers. It is the missionaries job to evangelize. We create a false dichotomy when we think this way. Ministry is for the professionals. The ordinary Christians do not need to worry about that sort of stuff. After all, that is what we pay them to do.
Unfortunately, that is not the picture the Bible gives regarding ministry. When Jesus gave the Great Commission to go out and make disciples, he wasn’t just talking to people with seminary degrees. That command was meant for all of his followers, including us today. God expects all of us to participate in the ministry of the church. The church, after all, is the Body of Christ. A body has many different parts with different functions, but they all serve a purpose. In the same way, the church is made up of a variety of individuals with different gifts, personalities, and opportunities, but we are all united around the same mission. We are called to be the light of the world, and to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.
In Luke 24, Jesus tells his disciples that they are to be witnesses of the things the had seen, heard, and learned from Jesus. They are to supposed to tell the world what they experienced, and the significance of it in light of the Scriptures. In other words, they are to share how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has impacted their lives.
It is important that Jesus asked them, and asks us today, to be witnesses instead of experts. Not everyone can be an expert, but we can all be witnesses. Many people don’t have the time or resources to become Biblical scholars. Not everyone is paid to devote time to the ministry like many pastors and missionaries. Everyone, however, can be a witness. In a court of law, all a witness is asked to do is share what they have seen and heard. It doesn’t require any special training. A witness must only be willing to share their experience.
Jesus asks each one of us to be witnesses. We are to share the good news of the Gospel with our friends, family, and coworkers. What is the good news? That Jesus died and rose again, and that he offers forgiveness to all who turn away from their sin. As witnesses to this, we can share how we experience this forgiveness, and the changes that have taken place in our lives as a result of it. To put it another way, we are called to share our story with others. Share how our story has been impacted and transformed by the greater story of God’s redemptive work in the world.
We must share our story in two ways. First, we tell it by the way we live. If we have experienced Christ’s forgiveness for ourselves, it will impact how we live and interact with others. People will notice a difference, and it bears witness to the impact Jesus has on our lives. Second, we must be willing to put it into words. Opportunities will come to share the Gospel with people, especially if they notice the positive difference it makes in your life. You must be willing, therefore, to share the hope that you have in him.
This can be intimidating, especially the first time someone asks you about your faith. I remember a time in college when such an opportunity arose. One of my coworkers at the restaurant I worked at asked me how I stayed so positive. Everyone was frustrated that particular day, yet I continued to have a smile on my face. He noticed there was something different about me. This was the perfect chance to share the good news of the Gospel with him, but I chickened out. I missed the opportunity to be a witness.
Jesus’ death and resurrection changes everything. Not only do we experience God’s love, grace, and forgiveness, but it also gives us a new purpose: to share the good news with the world. We don’t need to drop everything and move to Africa to fulfill this mission. We can be everyday missionaries, right where God has us.