This is third of a series exploring the “modes of evangelism”. Earlier posts have explored Body Witness and Natural Witness. This posting explores Ministry Witness.
Many people today lack either connection to a healthy community of believers for body witness or personal relationships with individual believers who will engage in natural witness. The only way for these individuals to be reached with the gospel is through intentional outreach ministry—the ministry mode of evangelism.
It is important to recognize that ministry witness is also a relational mode. But it is a different kind of relational connection than natural witness, because it occurs through the intentional ministry activity of the believer. This context has a profound influence on the style of witness, requiring openness and transparency coupled with genuine love and care. But when a ministry witness is empowered by God’s Spirit, it can have a profound impact on the lives of individuals and communities. Event-based and media outreaches can be considered subsets of ministry mode evangelism. Though the relational element is less personal, the communication of the gospel occurs because someone is engaged in intentional ministry outreach.
Jesus is, of course, the model of ministry witness, par excellence. Fulfilling his mission involved going “to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38, 39). He sent the twelve and then the 72 on ministry mode assignments, declaring the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-17).
After his ascension, the apostles led the expansion of the gospel through this type of ministry witness. (See for example, Acts 5:41-42). Philip engaged in a ministry mode of witness in a city in Samaria (Acts 8:5) and on a dessert road with the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). Barnabas did so in Antioch (Acts 11:22-24) and then joined efforts with the Apostle Paul, as they engaged in ministry witness throughout their missionary journeys (Acts 13 and beyond). Ministry witness is the leading edge of gospel expansion. Through it, new audiences are penetrated and new communities of believers are established.