Thursday, November 11, 2010

With My Witness

As I have said previously, United Methodists define discipleship by promising to uphold the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Last Sunday, it was All Saints Sunday; so, we looked at upholding the church with our witness. This was certainly appropriate as we honored those who have died since last year. I offered three points:

1. Every Christian is a witness. Remember the song: “Can I get a witness?” Every believer is a witness. We may not say a word or do anything out of the ordinary, but we are still witnesses to Christ. Now, I know that this is a difficult subject for Methodists and other main-line Protestants. We did a study with Natural Church Development to determine what our church’s lowest factor was. Turns out we were lowest in Need-Based Evangelism. So, we asked for feedback from the congregation. Why is evangelism so low on our scales of measurement? We said things like: 1. we don’t see it as a priority; 2. we don’t know what it means; 3. we aren’t going from door to door. Informally, some shared with me that evangelism is so distorted by many around us that it is difficult to know how to do it with love. For instance, a particular, University sends their students over to Wofford to accost the students. Often Wofford students are yelled at: “Are you saved?”

It is difficult. But, it’s still true that we are witnesses. God never leaves himself without a witness. Your love, your words, your deeds, your influence are all ways in which God bears witness through you. God makes his appeal to the world through us according to 2 Corinthians.

2. You have an effect on others. Most of us don’t think our lives affect other people very much. But, your life affects a whole network of people whom you know and even acquaintances that you don’t know well. Children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors, you may not think they are watching but they are. A child walks behind his father in the snow carefully making sure to try to stretch to walk in his father’s footprints.

The survey that we took for Natural Church Development said that most of us were not friends with any people who were not Christians. Maybe so. Or, maybe we are just not looking to make friends with anyone else. You have an effect on others. Don’t forget that you have an effect on others for Christ.

3. Your witness lives on long after you. Of course, we celebrated this on All Saints Sunday. Everyone who lived among us as a follower of Christ had a lasting impact on Bethel Church, their family, and the community. They prepared the way for us. Now, we modern day witnesses take up their mantle and take responsibility for our time and place in the world. Everything that we say, everything that we do, everything that we give, everyone that we love, benefits from our witness to Jesus Christ as Lord.

How are you doing with your witness? Do you ever talk to anyone about your own faith? Do you ever think to invite someone to your church and faith who might not otherwise have been invited? Most of the people who do not attend church say they don’t because they have not been invited. Look around your neighborhood. If you believe that everyone needs Jesus Christ and salvation, then keep your eyes open and your ears unstopped. Someone out there needs you.

See you in Church!
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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