by Shan Smith of the Agape Christian Church in Terre Haute, IN.
Several years ago I pulled a man from the inside of a car that had flipped over after hitting an embankment and a deep ditch. The car was on fire and the man was barely conscious. When the police arrived, I was asked to testify on what I had witnessed. Later, I found they were more interested in the drugs and alcohol they found in the car. You guessed it! I had to go to court to witness for the prosecution at the trial. After being sworn in, I had to tell the court four things: what I saw, what I heard, what I did, and what I felt.
John’s testimony of Jesus was very similar and clearly defines the word “witness.” In 1 John 1:1-3 he states, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 directly command Christians to share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. This is at the heart of the Deep and Wide Strategy of Dare2Share Ministries. As Christian witnesses, our commanding orders consist of being able to tell what Jesus has done for us and telling everyone we encounter. The misconception and fear comes when we feel we must have all the answers to every biblical question a seeker might have. On the contrary, we are simply called to be faithful to the sharing of what we have seen, what we have heard, what we did, and how we feel as believers and followers. The blind man healed by Jesus was only able to share, “I was blind, now I see (John 9:25).
The two-fold approach of the Deep and Wide model is to take our students deeper and wider at the same time. Many other youth ministry formulas and programs lack the balance of the Deep and Wide strategy resulting in a lack of personal growth and lost opportunities to share the Gospel for our students. As so frequently quoted following the “GO” in Matthew 28, we are to make disciples and teach them to obey everything He commanded simultaneously. Greg Stier writes of this synergy in the Deep and Wide Philosophy, “evangelism and discipleship work together like nitrogen and glycerin and result in explosive spiritual growth.”
to be continued…
Student Ministries Pastor
Agape Christian Church