The Pastor's Pen
When Jesus said, “As you are going (wherever you are going) disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obverse everything, whatsoever I commanded you” (Mt 28.19-20, my translation), He was not talking to just the eleven disciples on the mountain. In fact, we have every reason to connect this meeting to the one recorded by St. Paul in 1 Co 15.6 where the Lord “appeared to about five hundred brethren at once.” And the command was not just for the first century either; our Synodical President Matthew Harrison observes that “every baptized Christian is a ‘spiritual priest’ called to bear witness to Christ in the context of his/her vocations in life.”
All of this does not make witnessing an easy or joyfully anticipated opportunity. Why is that? Any number of reasons come to mind but perhaps chief among them is a lack of confidence in doing an adequate, let alone a good job of it; after all we are talking about heaven and hell for all eternity. Another major hinderance is a biblically inaccurate assumption of responsibility. We forget what we learned in our small catechism concerning the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth (SC, Creed, Third Article), not us; we are simply the messenger.
So how do we make witnessing a little less scary, a little less intimidating? There are plenty of resources out there, some good ones reflecting sound biblical teaching, but others are influenced by confessions and teachings that are not consistent with Scripture and so are not consistent with Lutheran theology. Our Synod has developed a new resource to help equip and encourage our members in this God-given task. Entitled, Every One His Witness, the program is built around a simple acronym – LASSIE, which stands for Listen, Ask, Seek, Share, Invite, Encourage. Comprised of videos and a written manual, it approaches and conveys the task of witnessing today both theologically and practically.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Cornelius will be sponsoring a one-day workshop facilitated by Pastor Michael Warmbier on Saturday the 3rd of February from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to present the course. I would encourage as many of you as possible to attend along with me. The cost of the workshop is $15--mainly to cover the participant’s manual. Morning refreshments and lunch will be provided. Registration must be received at St. Peter’s by Sunday the 14th of January to ensure adequate materials are on hand for the event. Registration materials are available in the office or you may speak to me directly.
Enthusiasm for this program continues to grow. Pastor Randy Blankschaen summarized it this way, “Every One His Witness gets evangelism right. The program understands the blessing and depth of Lutheran theology and how that is put into practice as we love our neighbor in the most basic Christian way – sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.” See you there!