According to Peter Bloch, presentation and participation are two important aspects in the process of training the youth to be effective witnesses for Christ. By presentation, theoretical instructions on “how to do…” is given to them. By participation, they are given the opportunity to be actually engaged in what they will do when they go forward to witness. Bible surfing and members’ evangelization exercises are two initiatives that actually fulfill the demands of presentation and participation.
Step 1: Bible Surfing
Bible surfing is a method by which individuals challenge themselves to open their Bible, read a passage, look for the main character of the passage, then dig deeper through critical thinking and a curious mind to get meaning from the passage. They may utilize other relevant resources in the process such as Spirit of Prophecy writings, Bible commentaries, and other inspirational writings to substantiate meanings.
In Bible surfing, we search through cross references, looking at maps, or thinking about stories from the Word that highlight a point in Scripture.
Bible surfing experiences take the surfer through memorizing the names of each of the fundamental doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and then a study of selected biblical or doctrinal topics that they will cover when they go out to engage prospects in their faith sharing endeavors.
If this is an Adventist Youth Society (AYS) initiative, at least twice per month the special feature for the AYS program may be designated for Bible surfing on selected topics. This study in AYS small group units could encourage small group involvement that enhances the Bible learning process of each youth. Through Bible surfing, each member of the AYS studies and is able to explain specific biblical or doctrinal topics of the Bible.
Step 2: Members’ Evangelization Exercises
In order to build confidence for witnessing to others, each member who participates in the Bible surfing experience may be involved in members’ evangelization exercises where they are expected to witness to other members of the church on topics discussed in the Bible surfing experience. This will also include sharing personal experiences and expressing praises to the Lord for His goodness. Where possible, they should utilize their spiritual gifts in order to improve their witnessing ministry.
Benefits of Bible Surfing and Members’ Evangelization Exercises
Bible surfing and members’ evangelization exercises will help the youth to develop confidence in utilizing their spiritual gifts and Bible knowledge to contact others and share the gospel story about the love of God and the faith of Jesus.
Block, P. (2000). Flawless consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used, 2nd, ed. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishers
Dunn, J. D. G. (1996). The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A commentary on the Greek text (261). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle: William B. Eerdmans Publishing; Paternoster Press.
White, E. G. (1990). Manuscript Releases Volume six [nos. 341-418].
White, E. G. Signs of the Times. It is Best To Be Christians, (Sermon preached at Washington DC., January 1889. Published May 20, 1889.
Session 24: Helping Believers Discern Where God is Working To help believers discern where God is working, I am showing others how to:
pray for a clear understanding of what God wants to accomplish through them.
recognize the work of the Holy Spirit within and around them.
discern where God is calling them to serve.
assess the needs of those God has called them to serve.
evaluate the culture they are called to serve in, in order to find and reach others.
God is working in my life and the lives of others who I am helping to disciple. I am called by God to assist those I am discipling, to help them discern His will for their particular mission/service to others, and to help them develop an understanding of the needs and cultural context of the people they are called to serve.
Look: Psalm 32, 1 John 1:9, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Peter 1:1-10
Memorize: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
Eagles are great parents
By now, you must be feeling like a parent. You’ve embraced the concept of discipling and have used all that you have learned to reach out to others with the good news you have found. And there they are, those precious ones who have chosen to follow Jesus, partly because you have been faithful and He has worked through you to minister in their lives.
Now what do you do?
Just like rings in a pond, the circle must go on and on and on, ever widening. But the thought hits you . . . they are just babies, so new in the Word, how can they be expected to go back out into the world? What plans does God have for them? How will they serve and to whom?
Before you get too worked up, let’s take a look at how eagles raise their young.
Imagine a tiny chick being born from an egg the size of a goose’s egg. Every four to five days, about a pound of weight is added to its growth. By three weeks of age, this growing bird is about one foot high and its feet and beak are almost adult size. By its eighth week, the parents, who have carefully kept their talons balled into a fist so they wouldn’t accidentally skewer their young, know it’s time to help their children along.
Junior perches on the nest’s edge, stretching his large wings, when Mom, without ceremony, shoves her precious child off the protection of the nest. Junior may only make it to the next limb down. Looking up, he must wonder about what his mother has just done. Soon though, after he has recovered from his booting, he practices with his parents’ encouragement and learns to spread his wings and fly.
So, parenting is finished for Momma and Poppa eagle, right?
Not a chance.
This is when the young eagle’s real education begins. The parent birds continue to feed their babies, but they also teach them hunting skills. The fledglings learn from their parents for months, and even then, Mom and Pop stay around the area watching from the sidelines for a long time, helping to make sure that their precious babies are safe and learning the skills they need to be an eagle. Unlike most animals, eagles have learned that the survival of their young depends on them staying nearby for a longer period of time to help them when needed.
If eagles can get it right, shouldn’t we?
The people whom you have discipled need your help and guidance. They need someone to talk to about problems they might encounter when sharing their faith. They need help to know how to answer difficult questions. They just need to know that you are there to walk beside them as they in turn seek to make new disciples.
What is one of the first areas that a new disciple must access?
What tool is best used to accomplish this?
What gift did Jesus give us to aid in leading us to the answers for these questions?
As an individual, answer the following questions:
Make a list of the people you are mentoring in this discipling process.
Schedule specific time to pray for them.
Schedule specific time to pray with them.
Be sure to ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in helping them develop ideas where God might be calling them to serve.
From the Pen of Ellen G. White
“There is work for you to do in the church and out of the church. “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” The fruit we bear is the only test of the character of the tree before the world. This is the proof of our discipleship. If our works are of such a character that as branches of the living Vine we bear rich clusters of precious fruit, then we wear before the world God’s own badge as His sons and daughters. We are living epistles, known and read of all men” (Testimonies for the Church Volume 5, Page 348).
Are you missionary material? What about those you are mentoring?
Have you traveled to a land far away and made great sacrifices for God’s kingdom? If so, then you probably call yourself a missionary. It is a noble calling. It is a God-given calling that few are equipped to fulfill.
If not, what is your ministry, then? Do you work through your local church to reach out to the youth in your area? Are you involved with prison ministries? Do you help your local center serve food to the homeless or provide other aid to hurting families?
Guess what—that makes you a missionary, too!
Anything involved with the ministry is a mission—one that God has especially equipped you for. And in equipping you, He is using your gifts to draw others to Himself. Why? Because you have uniqueness that someone else can relate to.
As others are drawn to you and what you believe and live, they will be transformed by God’s grace. You will feel a special connection to them because of this.
You will become their coach, encouraging them as they in turn reach out to others.
As you pray for your mission field, they too are finding theirs. It may be as close as their next door neighbor. It may be as far away as the setting of the sun in another time zone. Each individual has a unique mission plan mastered by . . . well, the Master.
How do you, and they, determine where to serve?
God hasn’t left us wanting. He has given us tools that help in finding our mission field and in serving the people that it contains.
Some of these tools include: Bible study, prayer, fasting, worship, giving. Discipleship has to become intentional. We have to use the tools that God has given us. If we don’t, they become rusty, and so do we. God calls us to call others; the Bible is clear on that fact. Our tool boxes need to be utilized if we are to help others.
Answer the following questions as individuals in a journal or as a group.
What do you feel is the most effective tool for you to use in helping the people you disciple?
Can the most effective tool be different for different people? Why or why not?
Which tools in your tool box get the most workout? Which ones do you need to pick up and use more?
What convinced you that you were following God’s plan for your life in your mission field? How can you help that translate to those whom you are discipling?
Do disciples ever make mistakes? Let’s look at the Bible to find our answer.
First, take a look at Jacob. He knew that God had a plan for him . . . and then he took matters into his own hands. He fooled his brother into a hasty oath and then planned the deception of his father. Did God use him later—after he repented from his mistakes? Absolutely.
Moses’ life was planned by God, too. Moses, nurtured by his birth parents, finally went to live in the palace with the king and his adoptive mother, the princess. Being groomed in the best schools available didn’t stop his impulsiveness or prevent his sin. He killed a man. We all know that God led him in one of the greatest stories of the Bible. Even then, he still made mistakes. But remember who buried him (Deuteronomy 34:4-7). God loved Moses.
Others followed. There was David and his adultery, Peter and his denial of Christ, the list goes on and on. Yet, every one of these individuals sought to serve God and, when they repented of their mistakes, were forgiven and guided.
Are you any different?
You will make mistakes. It is inevitable. The only way not to make a mistake is to not try—keep things status quo, ride under the radar and enjoy life as you know it. God’s promise of a more abundant life doesn’t mean just in the heavenly realms. He means for it to start here—on this earth. The only way that abundant life can be reached is to reach out and beyond our comfort zone into the world, scary as it is, and grab those seekers who are looking for what you have.
Like all good parents, you will make mistakes with your disciples. You’ll push them too hard, or not enough. You might not always have the answers to every question. You’ll mean well, but caught up in your own busy life, you may neglect them at some point.
It’s O.K. Mistakes can challenge us to become better. But it takes action to have reaction. So don’t be afraid to start . . . and using God’s tools, you will find success with God.
Have you made mistakes in your discipling? How have they impacted your ministry?
Do you feel God can use you, mistakes and all? Can He use those you are mentoring, even if they aren’t perfect?
Is there anything holding you back from full service to God?
How can you break through this obstacle and abandon yourself into God’s leading and His loving?
What if I told you, “I love you with all my . . . liver”? Would you think you must not be loved all that much? In some parts of Africa, that’s exactly how they would express their love. The liver is thought to be the seat of emotions. Therefore, loving you with all the liver would be a whole heaping lot of love!
It is very important when discipling that you consider those to whom you are working with. People are different based on many things. This is most obvious if your discipling involves another culture. Understanding cultural influences and patterns must be a part of preparing for the field, but there are less obvious differences that must be considered in discipling. It may not be something your new disciples will think about, so you must make it a point to help them.
Witnessing in the workplace is another example where discipling must be clearly thought out. Knowing the company rules on sharing of one’s faith will help, but they don’t have to be a deterrent. Encompassing God’s love and character into your life will naturally witness to others. Make sure you point this out to those you are discipling. Help them to understand that studying the culture of those whom they want to reach ahead of time will help them know better how to witness, whether it’s someone next door, in the next cubicle, or around the world. Remind them that Jesus used this method. He spoke to each individual and their needs. He looked at the heart first, and then began His teaching. We need to learn to follow that example for more effective discipleship.
Thinking of those you are discipling, where do their God-given talents lead you to believe they can be the most effective inside of the church and outside of it?
How can you help them see that individuals have different needs and learn to discern them and react to them?
Ellen White was shown that discipling would happen as God’s workers came closer to Him. Read what she wrote and see how God will lead his workers, as long as we surrender the guiding to Him. Be encouraged.
“Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God, they will need the divine touch. They will need to drink more deeply and continuously at the fountain of living water, in order that they may discern God’s work at every point” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 300).
DISCIPLE IN ACTION
Using the list of those whom you are mentoring in your discipleship journal:
Specifically pray for each of them to find their mission field. Pray that God will reveal clearly what His plans for them include.
Spend time reaching out in prayer with them. Make time to either meet personally, over the phone, or on electronic media to pray together for each other’s mission field.
Help them bear the yoke, just as Jesus helps us bear ours.
“It is the power of the cross alone that can separate man from the strong confederacy of sin. Christ gave Himself for the saving of the sinner. Those whose sins are forgiven, who love Jesus, will be united with Him. They will bear the yoke of Christ. This yoke is not to hamper them, not to make their religious life one of unsatisfying toil. No; the yoke of Christ is to be the very means by which the Christian life is to become one of pleasure and joy. The Christian is to be joyful in contemplation of that which the Lord has done in giving His only-begotten Son to die for the world, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”(Messages to Young People, p. 138).
Session 25: Using Spiritual Gifts to Fulfill a Personal Call to Mission and Ministry
To help believers use spiritual gifts to fulfill a personal call to mission and ministry, I am showing others how to:
confer with fellow believers to confirm and refine their areas of spiritual giftedness.
be prepared for mission and ministry by participating in training programs.
choose and participate in ministries that use their gifts and talents.
find ways to support Adventist mission and evangelism, ministries, and education.
You are a child of God—created by Him with your own unique heart, abilities, personality, and spiritual gifts. God brought all those elements together in you so you could serve Him and the world, sharing His love and helping people make personal commitments to Him in your own unique way as He has made you.
Look: Psalm 9: 1, 2; Psalm 57:9, 10; Psalm 96:3; John 8: 26b; 1 Peter 4:10
Memorize: “Each of you has been blessed with one of God's many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well” (1 Peter 4:10, CEV).
God wants us to participate with Him in His evangelistic mission.
Church is important, but all church activity is secondary in importance to sharing the love of Jesus Christ with people. Sharing the love of Jesus is much more important than church programs and activities because it is the relationship people have with Jesus that will determine whether or not they are saved. In sharing the gospel—Jesus’ love to others—you share that He is the answer to their needs.
Sharing the gospel, or being a witness, is not something we do—it is someone we are! Jesus asks us to “be witnesses” (Acts 1:8). Some people think we should just live our lives, be examples, and love people unconditionally while we meet some tangible need they may have. They think the church should only be a witness in their social and humanitarian programs.
But have you ever stopped to think that our calling is different than just influencing people positively?
Think about this—even people who don’t believe in Jesus can be a positive influence while doing good to others. Our calling is so much more. We are called not only to go, not only to love people, and feed the hungry, help the poor, etc., but also to share the gospel and make disciples for Jesus Christ.
“Making known the gospel” is also another way of describing evangelism. Webster’s Dictionary defines evangelism as “the promulgation (or “making known”) of the gospel” or “the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ.” Our being a witness, sharing of the love of Jesus so that others make a commitment, is what evangelism is all about!
To make the gospel known to others, He has given you certain abilities, and these are called spiritual gifts. Some people think evangelism is a spiritual gift that is only given to certain people. It is true that evangelism is listed as a spiritual gift, and Paul says, “some [are] evangelists” (Eph. 4:11). However, like faith and prayer, evangelism is also a universal gift to every Christian. There are some who are particularly gifted in these areas, but all must participate in them with Jesus. Your spiritual gifts are given to you by God so that you can be equipped to effectively share your Christian faith with others – to do the work of evangelism.
Surprised? We are told:
to choose to join Jesus (John 5:20)
to go everywhere and share the gospel with every one (Mark 16:15)
that God has gifted us all to do this work (1 Peter 4:10)
that God will give us the power to witness (Acts 1:8)
Jesus always takes the initiative to involve His people in His activity—and God’s invites you to join Him!
Having a relationship with God, a willingness to be molded into the person He has prepared to join Him, will cause Him to reveal to you the special qualities and abilities He has gifted to you for His glory, where He is at work, and what He wants to do through you.
Share: What have you always understood about evangelism? Are you surprised that EVERYONE is called to God’s evangelistic mission? How have you witnessed or shared Jesus’ love with others?
Preparing to reach others for Christ
One of the greatest ways in which we can prepare to share the good news is to allow God’s love to abide in our hearts and then be ready to faithfully express that love to everyone we meet. If we want to be a soul-winner and a disciple-maker, we must listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. He will always be faithful to speak to us and tell us what to do. As we are empowered and guided we will be enabled to use the moments of our lives to be effective witnesses for Jesus.
There are many benefits that being led by the Holy Spirit brings to our lives and our witness.
For one, the Holy Spirit’s power will enable YOU to be a witness.
The Bible tells the story of Barnabas as he travelled to Antioch. He encouraged the people in the Lord, and the Bible tells us that he was full of the Holy Spirit (and of faith), and that many people believed on the Lord.
Another benefit is that the Holy Spirit will speak through YOU as you witness. You do not have to worry about how or what you should say. The Holy Spirit, at the right moment, will tell you just what to say.
The Holy Spirit will guide you. He has done it through so many others already. He spoke through Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch who had come to Jerusalem. As a result, the eunuch asked to be baptized. There was also a man named Agagus (see Acts 11:28) that the Holy Spirit spoke through to let people know there was going to be a famine.