We don’t necessarily need training or a new set of skills to be witnesses, we just have to believe that the gospel is truly good news.- Adapted from Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey, by Daniel Montgomery and Mike Cosper
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is continually saying that he must go on to other villages (Mark 1:38; Luke 4:43). Jesus’s life is a movement toward people who are lost and broken. The incarnation is a story about God, in infinite power and holiness, moving toward us, enduring the humiliation of becoming human, bound up in a body with hands, feet, and speech, living a common, ordinary life for thirty years. It’s a movement from the glorious to the obscure, a journey of seeking us out. That movement continues throughout Jesus’s life. He moves toward the unacceptable members of society like tax collectors and prostitutes. He moves toward women who were marginalized in a male-dominated culture. He moves toward blue-collar workers like fishermen. He moves toward outcasts who are sick or disabled.
Religion huddles up. It builds up hedges that define who is in and who is out, and it rigorously defends those boundaries. The gospel moves outward. God moves toward us, and as his witnesses, we move outward too, moving toward people who are marginalized and excluded by the boundaries of religion. Like Jesus, the gospel should compel us outside our circles of familiarity, to the marginalized, the “least of these” of our society. In fact, something is terribly wrong with our understanding of the gospel if it is not continually moving outward.
A church that isn’t witnessing, that isn’t moving outward, doesn’t have a problem with technique. It doesn’t need a new program. Its problem is first and foremost a gospel problem. Witnessing is a natural response to the experience of God’s grace, and its power lies entirely in the gospel. If we’re not compelled to share the gospel, we should wrestle with whether we actually believe it.