The Mission of The Witnessing Church


Even before the fall of man, God had foreseen what was to be and made provision, the Lamb of God, for man’s redemption. In these words addressed to the serpent, Adam and Eve first gleaned the hope of humanity’s salvation, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15 KJV). Even as the gulf between man and His Creator has widened because of the transgression, God has always had His appointed faithful representatives on Earth, His faithful witnesses, who were to show forth His enduring grace and mercy – who were to publish the light of man’s salvation.

After the Babel incident, the human family was separated and scattered throughout the fours corners of the Globe, forming nations and kingdoms according to language and developed customs. When God called faithful Abraham out of Ur, in what is today modern Iraq, He promised to make him the father of a great nation; that from his posterity would come the Messiah, the promised seed of the woman, the blessing of all nations. God told Abram, “… I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curse thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12:2-3 KJV)

Indeed, Israel became a great nation. God encircled Jacob’s descendants under His wings and by the strength of His mighty hand, supernaturally interposed to deliver them from oppressive Egyptian bondage. Appointed by God to be the guardians of His oracles, laws and percepts, they were given a beautiful piece of real estate, the Promised Land, located geographically at the crossroads of the world – on the land bridge between East and West. While the other families of the earth wallowed in Idolatry and gross darkness, God intended that His chosen people would be peculiar, holy, and different – a nation of kings and priests who were to show forth God’s marvelous light in a world steeped in darkness.

For a time, it almost seemed that Israel was destined to fulfill God’s mission for them. Under the reigns of King David and later for a short time under Solomon, Israel arrested the attention of the nations. Foreigners recounted its supernatural deliverance from the clutches of then world power Egypt, the definitive military victories garnered with its surrounding neighbors and the unparalleled wealth, wisdom and glory that came with Solomon’s reign. Their conclusion was that Israel’s manifold blessings was guided by a powerful, mighty unseen Hand, much greater than any other in existence. Thus seekers of truth often journeyed to Israel to glean more of the Great Jehovah.


God’s adoption of Israel as His chosen people was always conditional and contractual. God is not racist. He did not choose them because of any intellectual, physical or superior DNA prowess which they had; He chose them because of the faithfulness of one man – Abram. The Lord stipulated in His covenant with Israel that if they remained faithful to Him, He would adopt them as His people and treat them as such forever. With the passage of time, however, Israel failed to abide by her end of the contract. God’s peculiar people soon stopped been peculiar. Israel’s over riding desire was to be like the other nations instead of being an example to them. Her leadership and citizenry adopted many of the civil, educational and religious practices that were synonymous with heathen nations. Even though there are many outstanding examples of individual faith in Israel, as a nation called to serve Jehovah, scripture and history shows a legacy of apostasy and rebellion. By the time of Christ’s first advent, only two of the original twelve tribes remained, Judah and Benjamin and they were self absorbed and exclusive, with no interest of been the light of the world. Things got so bad, that they even failed to recognize their promised Messiah when He came. Worse, they turned the Prince of life over to their enemies, the Romans, to be tried and executed.

Even as God now resigned Himself to the fact that Israel as a nation would not come around even if He gave them more time to repent, it saddened and pained Him to separate Himself from them. Evident in the voice of Jesus was God’s sorrow and regret as He confronted the Jewish leadership at His temple for the last time, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens together under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:37-39 KJV)


God dearly loves us and has made substantial sacrifices in order to save us from the second death – eternal separation from Him. He is very particular that the good news of the gospel be shared with all of humanity, giving each person, as much as possible, an opportunity to accept His free gift of salvation, before He intervenes to execute judgment on a wicked world. In the publishing of the gospel to the world, God has not taken on this work by Himself, or even delegated this job to angels, but it was always intended from the beginning that the gospel would be carried forward by combining the efforts of the human and the divine – by God and men. Nothing more epitomizes this fact than the death of the God-Man, Jesus Christ on the cross. E.G. White reminds us, “Divine and human agencies are combined in the work of saving souls. God has done His part, and Christian activity is needed now. God calls for this. He expects His people to bear part in presenting the light of truth to all nations. Who will enter into partnership with the Lord Jesus Christ?” (Christian Service pg 83)

Indeed, Christ is calling all of us to be co-laborers with him. As any good building contractor will tell you, sometimes when hired builders produce unsatisfactory results, he may have to take things into hand to reorganize the work, which could even involve bringing in new laborers to finish the job. Addressing the Scribes and Pharisees Jesus remarked, “…the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matt. 21:42-43) That was the predicament in which ancient Israel found itself at Christ’s first coming. Because of her failure to minister to the world, the work of God’s Kingdom was taken from her and entrusted to the true disciples of God, people from all nations who comprise His Church, those who are willing to carry it forward. With the ordination of His twelve disciples at the outset of His ministry, Jesus was taking the first step in organizing His witnessing church, that was to carry the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth after His departure. A stalwart Christian leader once wrote, “The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, for its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 9.”

Divine Commission – Go! Teach! Baptize!

In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man’s theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach. “The law and the prophets,” with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ’s name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom. The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power. –Desire of Age, p. 286.

In the same way earthly ambassadors are commissioned by their nation to be its representative in foreign lands, Christ commissions His people to be His representative of the Heavenly Kingdom here on earth; starting locally in our homes, communities, towns, then going globally into other nations and continents. The diplomatic credentials we have received is of a divine order and originates from the headquarters of the Universe – issued by the world’s Redeemer Himself. In Matthew 28:18-20, the divine commission is presented to us, Jesus proclaims “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. This commission given to us by Christ does not spell the passivity of His Church, but is its assigned activity. Three action words from the commission – go, teach, baptize – springs to mind a vision of movement – not dormancy or latency. In essence, the great commission could be summarized this way: Go, Teach and Baptize.


The apostle Paul, arguably the most outstanding evangelist of the early Christian church, often compared the Christian walk to athletic events he saw ancient Rome. He did this not to promote or justify a selfish spirit of competition among Christians, but to illustrate that the Christian life is one of movement, endurance, perseverance and activity. After an eventful of life of evangelism, Paul approaching the moment of his execution declared confidently to his protégé Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Tim. 4:7 & 8).

Like the apostle Paul, Christ wants His witnessing church to be intentional and purposeful about its witness – to chart a course for evangelism and to stick with it. Sitting around and looking at each other most times won’t produce any results. The fact is, a Church that is not evangelistic in its outlook will eventually die. Believe me, I have heard of churches where members were content to just sit around and look at each other for twenty years or more – these churches have yielded no fruit, garnered no baptisms and thus no new members. Chances are if they don’t do something – like placing themselves on a course to go do some witnessing – if you were to go back in say twenty years time, you will probably still see some of the very same members there with hardly any new people – or worse, the church doors may be closed! Christians should not be content to just sit around and look at each other, hoping beyond all hope that something miraculous will happen to bring souls into God’s Kingdom, because nothing will. Christ commissions us to go, move, do something, to build up His Kingdom.

Even as we place ourselves on our marks getting set to go witnessing, there needs to be a moment for pause – pause for prayer and reflection, a tarrying time so that we can receive the refreshing and empowering of the Holy Spirit. We should never forget that the activity of witnessing is only truly successful with the amalgamation and melding of two parties, the human and the divine. Anything less will prove unfruitful and disappointing. In the book of Acts, Jesus assured his disciples that they would receive divine power to witness after the Holy Spirit fell upon them,

“…ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Going witnessing without the Holy Spirit’s power is like driving a car without spark plugs or using a laptop without adequately charging its battery – after a period of a pseudo self motivated enthusiastic high, you will stop working and lose interest.


I remember long ago watching the award winning television series, Roots, the true story about an American family which traced its ancestry and traditions back to the shores of West Africa. Over the years, I have gained an appreciation of how ancient peoples were able to faithfully and accurately pass down orally their values, traditions and teachings to the next generation. Christians today are very fortunate that a revelation of God and His Christ – His activity in history to redeem man – has been accurately documented for us in the Bible by holy men who were eyewitnesses to significant events and who were also inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The early Christians were indeed blessed to have been in the company of the greatest teacher this world has ever known. On one occasion after the multitude deserted Jesus, the Bread of Life, because of His “hard sayings”, Jesus questioned his disciples, “will ye also go away?” It was Peter who spoke up as usual for the brethren, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” (Jn. 6:67-68). Thankfully, the disciples have preserved for us these “words of eternal life” in the Bible for our benefit today. Even as there are literally billions of bibles widely available to the masses, there are still many sincere seekers of truth who do not fully comprehend the words that point to eternal life and will need someone to guide them. The book of Acts (Acts 8:26-40) outlines for us an outstanding example of this fact – of a faithful Christian carrying out Christ’s instruction to teach all nations.

An Ethiopian treasury official, a man of great influence and authority in his country, was making his way from Jerusalem back to his own country, having gone to the holy city to worship. A sincere seeker of the truth, the official puzzled over a passage of scripture found in Isaiah chapter 53, which relates the terrible ordeal of a suffering servant, trying to decipher its full meaning. Phillip, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, was instructed to draw near to this man that he might give him insight as to the meaning of the text:

“Do you understand what you are reading?” Phillip asked him, as he walked alongside the Ethiopian’s Chariot. The official responded, “How can I without someone to guide me?”

At the invitation of the Treasurer, Phillip was given an opportunity to explain the meaning of the passage, presenting before the eunuch that its fulfillment had been met in Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God, crucified voluntarily at the hands of the Romans for the salvation men. Convicted of this truth by the Holy Spirit, the Ethiopian immediately requested baptism and was baptized.

Believe me, there are many people around us, who like this Ethiopian Treasurer, are wrestling to understand scripture better and in their utter frustration and anguish cry, “How can I understand without someone to guide me?” The fact is, we Christians are much more in tune with the operation of the Holy Spirit, and thus more qualified authorities on scripture than any worldly wisdom could ever bring. The Bible was inspired by holy men who wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and so it will take people who are inspired and infused with this same Spirit to unearth some of its deepest treasures. Christians have Christ’s authorization and blessing to teach His Word. Jesus promised us, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Like Phillip, we should never hesitate as the Spirit bids us, to broaden the understanding of those who are sincerely seeking to know the Savior. True, the Church has many gifted Pastors, Evangelists and Teachers who are more than qualified to present the Word. But the commission in its broadest context is for all who are able, to teach. How do you think Jesus views a situation, where we have the “words of eternal life” as Peter puts it, yet our next door neighbors are starving for even a crumb of this Bread of life because we are withholding it from them?

As we preach and instruct people in God’s word, we are to be always mindful that a great controversy is raging between Christ and Satan. Paul reminds us that “…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ep. 6:12). The enemy, Satan, in the beginning twisted the Word of God to suit his own devious purposes, and so wishes the Christ’s followers to do the same today. We are to prayerfully examine ourselves to see if what we teach is in agreement with God’s Word – the Bible. It should be our final authority. As we proclaim, “It is written”, or “Thus saith the Lord…”, let us make pains to ensure that human opinion, human traditions and creeds are shut out. Anything less, and we are subjecting ourselves to be used by Satan to misrepresent Christ. Remember, Christ tells us that he, Satan, is a liar from the beginning and the father of it.


Like the birth of a new baby or the wedding ceremony which joins a man and his wife, I have noticed that baptismal services always almost never fails to bring out different happy emotions in people – both in participants and observers. It can bring forth happy tears of joy or wide contended smiles. The reason why these events will spring forth these happy emotions, I have discovered, is that these public occasions are milestone events in people’s lives, signifying new beginnings with a promise of new direction. God intends that His Church be a happy place: the continual birth of new babes in the church is not the Church’s shame or burden, but should be its continual rejoicing! Rightly then, baptisms should bring forth all the happy emotions we can give, for the bible tells us that heaven rejoices when even one person pledges publicly to join himself to Christ!

During His famous night interview with Nicodemus recorded in the gospel of John chapter 3, Jesus shared with the inquiring Pharisee that unless a man (or woman and child for that matter) be “born again”, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus went on to share with Nicodemus that the signet of the believer’s “born again” status, includes him receiving both water and spirit baptism. 

One of the many things that I love about Jesus, is that He always leads by Example. At outset of His ministry, as John preached a baptism of repentance at the river Jordan, we see Jesus Himself requesting the authentic baptism by immersion. It strikes me then, if the one who knew no sin, the spotless Lamb of God submitted himself to be baptized, how much more are sinful men who are convicted of our wrong path and our sinful ways to seek baptism! John the Baptist also hinted that it is Jesus who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit when he says,

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire…”

Water baptism is not what converts the believer; rather, it is the consigned public declaration of the believer to the world that he has renounced his former life (he is “born again”), turned his back upon the world and pledges to join himself to Jesus in a new life. In doing this publicly, he is held accountable first to God and also to fellow believers in his new found faith. Paul beautifully expresses a deeper meaning of what the act of baptism represents for the Christian when he says:

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4).

As we go forth teaching and preaching, many will ask us as the Ethiopian eunuch did Phillip, “What hinders me from been baptized?”; as they are confirmed in their new found faith, Christ commission’s us to baptize them in the “name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…”


Even as Christ has entrusted His Church with the mission of the gospel, each person is called to be part of this witness. Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God is a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready perish eager to drink of the water of life. –Desire of Ages, p. 195”.   E. G. White further comments, Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for him according to his ability. When the members of the Church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the world will soon be warned, and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory. – Acts of the Apostles, p 111

Putting Back the Personal in Personal Ministries

Have you every imagined would have happened if 1st century believers had left the gospel commission only up to the Apostles? Indeed, this world would be a radically different place today! In giving the gospel commission to believers, Christ intended that each of us get involved in this great work of evangelizing the world. In my own Christian life, I take the commission Christ’s gives to us very personally. That’s right, I take it and make it personal. For me, reading Matthew 28:18-19 would go something like this:

 “Derrick, all power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Derrick,  go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whosoever I have commanded you, and Derrick, I am always with you, even unto the end of the world.”

Admittedly, when I started out on my own witnessing journey, it was not all dandy and rosy. Initially I was paralyzed by many struggles, doubts, and fears – including the thought that I did not have enough training to witness. I felt I would not know what to say at each door, but all my fears left me when I ask Jesus to give me Holy boldness to work for Him. Truth be told, I began using the FORT (Family, Occupation, Religion, Testimony) approach to interact and witness to people long before I knew it even existed (We will touch more on the FORT technique in a succeeding chapter)!

I remember one particular Sunday morning in Brooklyn, New York, I was going witnessing with a song in my heart in my neighborhood. Earlier, before setting out, I had prayed that God would lead me to someone who was seeking Him. As I approached Rogers Avenue and Lincoln street, I could hear two individuals arguing, it sounded like a husband and wife type of dissension. I picked up the pace and hurriedly made my way pass their home, hoping they would not see me. Then the voice came so distinctly and clearly, it said, “Derrick, I want you to turn around and go towards that home you just passed.”

Doubting myself and evaluating my witnessing capabilities, I had suddenly forgotten my prayer earlier that morning for a witnessing opportunity and now lamented, “No Lord, surely not me! Please don’t send me.”

I didn’t realize it then, but God had a plan, for He knew before I did that a little child would lead the way in diffusing the situation that was embroiled in that home. I ended up obeying God. As I entered Terrence and Jennifer’s home, I noticed the family pictures and began complimenting my hosts. The preceding quarrel now gave way to attempts at hospitality and amazement that a young man of only 13 years old drops by in the middle of a heated domestic dispute to share Christ with them. I learnt about the Terrence’s occupation as a solider in the military and observing a painting of the Virgin Mary and a cross in their living room, I queried him on how often he prayed and tried to glean information on the status of his relationship with Christ.

As my visit extended into the half hour mark, I began talking about how I found Christ, of how lonely I felt when I was deserted at the tender age of five. I shared with them how strange it had been for me to adjust to a new family setting and that even though my new found guardians were not Christians, Christ would always provide me with many opportunities to get to know Him better by bringing people in my path who always invited me to church. As we talked, Terrence was able to express to me that he too had been abandoned by his parents and had never had a real family. He was bitter and even though he had married his beautiful wife, Jennifer, somehow he felt jealous of Jennifer’s relationship with her family and would always pick fights with them. This was the reason for the argument I had overheard as I passed by that morning. God knew from the outset that I would be able to relate to this family’s situation because I too had gone through a similar situation so He had directed me to this home! I rejoiced that Jesus adopted me into the family of God from a tender age; in my time of separation from earthly parents, God became my father, the angels were my family and through the years they watched over me until I was reunited with my earthly parents later on in life.

Instantly upon meeting Terrence, I could relate to his pain and introduced him that day to a friend of mine, Jesus Christ, who takes away all pains and hurts. Later myself and an elder came back to give bible studies to Terrence and Jennifer. Eventually Terrence accepted the advent faith and became a member of a local church, however, His Jennifer never did. I know Terrence is still in the church. Later, I learned that Jennifer left him. I am sure it was a painful experience for Terrence, but praise God, he’s still is in love with Jesus!

Eventually I was able to overcome many fears and doubts I had about witnessing, learning to trust that with Jesus anything is possible. Remember in the book of Matthew chapter 28 Jesus promises, “ I will be with you, even unto the end of the earth.” My fears left me because I now know it’s not about me, it about Christ. Of course I have had numerous doors slammed in my face, I was beaten up once for following Christ in the streets of Brooklyn, but through it all I know if Christ could take a angry rebellious individual like me and turn my life around then there’s nothing He can’t do! As you follow Christ’s directive to go witnessing, you will be blessed immensely by Heaven. It will be worth it when out of all the pain and discouragement you see one person come to Christ. Words are not enough to explain the joy you will feel when you go in faith for Jesus. It always gives me the chills and it brings tears of joy to my eyes when someone accepts the Savior.

That’s why I started my own personal witnessing ministry, to encourage young people, middle-aged folks – everyone – to never give up this battle for souls. We are indeed soldiers on the battlefield for our Lord! Some of us will be wounded, others will die but our earthly loss and trials pales in comparison to the heavenly eternal reward to be gained! Remember, we need to take Christ’s commission personal; each and every person needs to take a stand for Christ.

Throughout the United States and overseas, my personal witnessing ministry has now blossomed today into one which is also dedicated to educate and train individuals who are bold enough to say, “I want to witness for Christ”.  

The fact is friends, we cannot afford to leave the gospel work up to church leadership, church committees or charities. In the book Evangelism, E.G. White writes, “Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. Human wisdom tends to consolidation, to centralization, to the building up of great churches and institutions. Multitudes leave to institutions the work of benevolence; they excuse themselves from contact with the world, and their hearts grow cold. They become self absorbed and unimpressible. Love for God and man dies out of the soul. Christ commits to His followers an individual work – a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel.Ministry of Healing, p. 147

True, God has gifted us differently as individuals: some are called to be pastors, some are called to be evangelist and some are called to be teachers – yet all of us are called to witness of how Christ has changed us. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone in your church was in some way engaged in witnessing, putting all your gifts and resources together to accomplish the gospel commission in your area? Now that would be something, wouldn’t it?

We cheat ourselves out of great blessings when we don’t witness

And get this, I have found that my own spiritual life becomes even more enriched when I started sharing my faith and doing bible studies. I understand my bible better, I have a better devotional and prayer life and I become less self absorbed and more giving and all this makes for a happier Christian. Jesus knew what He was talking about when He encourages us to share our faith, because in doing so, we become more like Him. You will tap into new facets of your spirituality which you cannot acquire any other way.

“And he who seeks to give to others will himself be blessed. “There shall be showers of blessing” (Ezekiel 34:26). “He that watereth shall be watered also himself” (Proverbs 11:15). God could have reached His object in saving sinners without our aid; but in order for us to develop a character like Christ’s, we must share in His work. In order to enter into His joy–the joy of seeing souls redeemed by His sacrifice we must participate in His labors for their redemption” – The Desire of Ages, p. 142.

 © 2007 Derrick Hall & Merrick Brown

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Copyright (c) 2007 “The Witnessing Church” by Derrick Hall and Merrick Brown


 P.O. Box 1174, Lincoln, California, USA 95648 phone: (877) 582-2256, ext.1, e-mail address:

Published in: on 09/09/2007 at 12:10 am  Leave a Comment  

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