Everyone His Witness

January 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

The focus of this month’s TLO Disciple is Everyone His Witness. In Matthew 28:19-20, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave the Church His Great Commission. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The emphasis often given in the Great Commission is that every Christian is to Go. Go out into the world and something will happen. The better understanding is that the real imperative in the verse is “make.” Make disciples by baptizing and by teaching. Every Christian can be involved in this work in some way. The substance of the message of God’s Word is that salvation is by grace. Forgiveness is a gift of God through faith in Christ Jesus. You don’t need to go to some foreign nation to be a witness. A witness simply speaks what they have seen, heard and believe in their heart.

The Great Commission was not only for the Apostles and the early Church. The Great Commission was given to the entire Christian Church. Every believer in Christ is a witness to what God has done through Jesus. In Acts 1:7-8 Luke records Jesus’ words before He ascended into heaven,: “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest parts of the earth.”

In his explanation of the Third Article of the Creed, Luther writes, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called my by the Gospel…” Calling a person to faith does not come by our own power or strength. Conversion to faith is completely the work of the Holy Spirit. It is through the teaching of God’s Word and the teachings that God has established in the Bible the not only call us to faith, but also keep us in the faith.

The Church is to be about preaching, teaching, and reaching our neighbors with the Good News of Jesus. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has developed a tremendous teaching resource for congregations to learn how to witness to our neighbors titled Every One His Witness.

Every One His Witness is a relational, contextual Lutheran evangelism program that will teach you how to witness to your non-churched friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family members. Using the LASSIE approach to witnessing (listen, ask, seek, share, invite, and encourage), you will learn how to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in a natural way with people who are part of your everyday life.

This month TLO will offer the Core Module of Every One His Witness during the Sunday morning Education Hour beginning January 10, 2021. You are encouraged to join us on this journey as we follow the Great Commission. After completing the Core Module, you can have access to specific modules where you can learn how to witness to persons in differing situations.

Through this TLO Disciple and through Every One His Witness, may the Lord equip you to be His witness wherever you go.

Pastor James Kroonblawd
From God's Word
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
Sunday mornings 9:15am
beginning January 10, 2021

Not sure how to witness? ‘LASSIE’ teaches us to naturally share the Good News of Jesus Christ as we Listen-Ask-Seek-Share-Invite-and-Encourage people in our lives. To ensure we have materials, please sign up for the class
From God's Word
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
What Types of Outreach Disciple Has the Word Shaped and Directed You To Be?
 
You will be my witnesses,” Acts 1:8.
 
This is not an order that Jesus gave to the disciples. He is merely stating a fact. As Jesus’ followers, they would be His witnesses, His testimonies, representatives of who He was and what He had done. The question that they no doubt had to come to grips with was: “What kind of witness will I be?”
 
We too, as followers (disciples) of Jesus, are all witnesses as well. The question that we also need to grapple with is: “What kind of witness will I be?” Every Christian can become a positive witness or a negative witness for Jesus Christ.
 
There are five different things people can do as part of outreach, based on their gifts, abilities, talents and personalities:
 
1. Tellers  These are individuals with the spirit of Philip (Acts 8:35). They tell the Good News about Jesus. “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus.”
 
2. Encouragers  These are individuals with the spirit of Barnabas (Acts 11:22-24). They encourage fellow members to tell the Good News about Jesus. “News of this reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence to the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” “
 
3. Inviters  These are individuals with the spirit of the wedding banquet servants (Matt. 22:8-10). They invite those around you to your church in order to hear the Good News of Jesus. “Then He said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
 
4. Welcomers  These are individuals with the spirit of Christ Himself (Luke 15:2). They welcome all who respond to the invitation. Individuals with this gift instinctively know what to do and how to make people feel warmly welcomed. “But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”
 
5. Disciplers These are individuals who can assist the pastor with adult catechesis (Acts 2:42). They serve as adult facilitators for the new members. They befriend and assimilate these folks until they feel at home. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
 
Scripture references: Acts 1:8; Acts 8:35; Acts 11:22-24; Matt. 22:8-10; Luke 15:2; Acts 2:42.
 
Precious Lord, thank You for the honor and humbling responsibility to be Your witness. Grant me the grace to be a positive witness in all that I do and say, so that others may see a glimpse of Your glory. Amen.
 
Reprinted from Outreach Discipleship, Session 4. LCMS, Outreach Ministry. 
Evangelism and the Mirror of the Law: What’s Your Pose?  
 By Rev. Mark Wood
 
As Christ’s witnesses, we are called to speak the truth in love, that is, to speak God’s Word in love. One of our challenges in doing this comes when we consider that God’s Word is made up of both Law and Gospel. Speaking the Gospel in love seems good and right to us. But speaking the Law in love seems like a contradiction. It certainly doesn’t feel very loving to tell someone that he is sinning and that his sins will lead to God’s judgment and condemnation. Contrary to those feelings, speaking the Law to someone who is quite comfortable in his sin is not only loving, it is the only loving option we have as faithful witnesses of Jesus.
 
What’s Everyone His Witness all about?
 
Every One His Witness is made up of two parts. The first part is a core module that covers how to witness in today’s world through the LASSIE approach. The core module can be conducted as a one-day event, a weekend retreat, or a six-week series.
 
The second part is this website. Here, you’ll find resources to help you use what you learn in the workshop to witness to people in specific contexts. Called “context modules,” these resources are available at no cost to anyone who has completed the core module.
Lutheran Witness
 
Start to finish, this edition of the Lutheran Witness from Jan., 2019, on missions and evangelism will encounter faith, courage and conviction — and the reality that, as the Rev. Dr. Victor Raj reminds us, “In the Church, ministry and mission always go together.”
 
The unprecedented and potentially catastrophic decline of religion in America has so completely dominated the “God beat” in recent years that many Christian journalists (including this one) are frankly getting tired of talking about it.
 
Yes, we know that churches are struggling. Yes, we know that many worthy institutions are on the brink of collapse. Yes, we know that young people are more secular now than ever. No, we have no idea how to get “Nones” to show up on Sunday morning. Sorry. Can we please change the subject now?
 
This innate desire to change the subject may sound like cowardice or escapism (and maybe it is a little). But it’s also a candid acknowledgement that churches do their best work when they shift their focus away from their own immediate troubles and frustrations and keep their eyes firmly fixed on eternal essentials: Word and Sacrament, God and neighbor, cross and mission.
 
Here, then, is what you won’t find in the feature articles of our January issue on witness, missions and evangelism: Navel gazing. Hand wringing. Angsty “woe is us” doom-and-gloom laments.
 
Here’s what you will find: Faith. Conviction. Perseverance. Courage. Hope. Marching orders.
 
Happy New Year. Now, as President Harrison likes to say: “Let’s go!”
 
Rachel Bomberger
Managing Editor, The Lutheran Witness
lutheran.witness@lcms.org 
 
Click here to read full magazine
Check out any recent study of religious affiliation in the United States, and you’ll see clear evidence of a growing mission field right in our backyard.
 
ALL believers have role to play in sharing the life-saving Gospel that Paul writes about in 1 Cor. 15:1-5: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
From God's Word
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Witness & Outreach Ministry
 
Witnessing to the nonchurched
 
The “&” in Witness & Outreach underscores that there are two different elements to this ministry of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
 
Witness is the work we have been given to do as the church scattered. We have opportunities to speak of Jesus with the people in our everyday lives who are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, family members, etc.
 
Outreach is the work we do as the church gathered. It is our collective effort through ministries, services, events and other activities as the church through which we invite and include others into Word and Sacrament ministry.
 
Witness & Outreach are distinct, but they work together so people will know of Jesus and be gathered into His Church through us.
From God's Word
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’” Isaiah 6:8
LWML Gospel Outreach Resources
 
This page contains a wide variety of resources to help you either find opportunities to witness and serve or to provide assistance with your efforts to witness and serve. Check 'em out!
From God's Word
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Called. Equipped. Sent.
 
Lutheran Hour Ministries offers equipping resources to help you reach out with the love and Good News of Jesus Christ in your everyday lives. These online courses and webinars will cover five faith-strengthening categories and use an array of elements to help you gain a hearing for the Gospel message.
 
  • Christian Foundations: Basics of Christianity from Biblical, theological, and historical perspectives
  • Cultural Concepts: Understand the different demographics, cultures and religions in our world today
  • Everyday Insights: Thoughts about the good and bad that life throws your way
  • Outreach Essentials: Personal evangelism and tools to reach others with the Gospel
  • Spiritual Reflections: Devotional thoughts meant to strengthen and encourage
 
Check out these new courses and more in LHM's Learning Library!  
Online Context Module Training
 
2 — Step Two of Every One His Witness
 
After completing the Core Module of Everyone His Witness you are encouraged to continue to make use of the online video training to refine your witnessing skills. Here is the next step, after you have completed the core module workshop.
Through video sessions, the online context modules pick up where the core module left off. We have enlisted the help of people who have real world experience using the LASSIE approach to witness in specific contexts.
 
Use the forums and make connections while you use the website to ask questions, get tips, and help refine your witnessing skills.
 
Ask Pastor Kroonblawd for access to this valuable online learning resource.
In the winter 2020 issue of Engaged in Mission magazine you’ll find stories that take a closer look at the amazing things that God has been doing through MN South District-supported missionaries and missions in 2020. Despite a global pandemic creating new ministry challenges almost daily, each missionary and mission has continued to preach the Gospel of Christ crucified in their unique context. Read it here!

Soli Deo gloria
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran
2950 Highway 55
Eagan, MN 55121
651-454-7235