Guests: Alex Bryan and Paddy McCoy
Most of the time, discussions of evangelism and witnessing center on letting the world know about Jesus. This week, however, the focus is on letting the church know about the results of evangelism.
- In the Adventist Church, there has been a tradition of sharing stories of mission successes. Programs like Mission Spotlight have been a part of this reporting tradition.
- What are the potential benefits of evangelistic reporting to the church?
- What are the potential dangers of reporting on evangelistic endeavors to the church?
- In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus warns against doing “acts of righteous” in order to be seen by others. Instead, Jesus said, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” How should we interpret Jesus’ words in light of the Adult Sabbath School lesson’s emphasis on the importance of reporting our successes to others? Should we report, or shouldn’t we?
- In Numbers 13:17-33, twelve men, each one a leader of their respective tribe, experienced the same reality, but the group as a whole could not agree on how that reality should be reported.
- How much stock should we put in the reports we hear?
- Can’t every event be “spun” in such a way that reality is distorted? Doesn’t this happen whether we want it to or not?
- In Mark 6:30, Jesus’ disciples return to him with a report.
- Notice what the disciples told Jesus. What was it that they reported on? Was it procedures? Intentions? Results?
- What is Jesus most interested in: the results of our witness, or, our obedience in doing and teaching what he wanted us to? Put another way, does Jesus want to hear how many were converted or whether or not we were faithful to his instructions?
- Does following Jesus’ instructions mean we will reap a great harvest of souls? Can we be faithful and not fruitful?
- Throughout Christian history, missionary stories have profoundly shaped the theology of the Church. Such was the case in Acts 11:1-3 and 15:1-5. In both these instances, good reports created controversy because the influx of new (and different) believers was seen as a threat to the purity of the church. Out of that controversy came a new understanding of God and his activity in the world.
- What are the “good” or “successful” evangelism reports today that have caused controversy in the church? Are there movements of God that challenge prevailing views within your church?
- How do Acts 11 and 15 help to guide us in dealing with those controversies?