Hello, My Name is Witness
I grew up as many of you did—attending church camps every summer, Youth Congress every other year, General Conference every fall, HYC every winter, and missions trips here and there when I could raise the money. I’m guilty as charged. I’m guilty of becoming consumed with my little world within the UPCI. I love the organization, I love the fellowship and friendships it’s given me, and I love the experiences with God I’ve had at all of those numerous events throughout my youth. Yet I can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt when I see how comfortable I am simply existing among everyone just like me.
I attend a Bible college where all the girls wear skirts and have uncut hair; where it’s not considered weird to be Pentecostal or odd to pursue ministry; where there are no questions or curious glares. Throughout elementary to high school I endured being the odd one out—sticking out like a sore thumb. I began using church events to escape from a world where I didn’t fit in.
Christ’s great commission to each of us always has and always will be to reach the lost—to find people in this world who do not know the truth and to share it with them. It’s uncomfortable and requires us to go beyond the securities of our movement, but it’s the main reason we are here. It’s so easy to pursue more glamorous dreams. I speak with young adults all the time who share with me their hopes of one day achieving greatness and becoming someone special. What is it they aim to achieve? Singing at General Conference, preaching a week long youth camp, becoming a part of an elite ensemble at a Bible college, or getting to lead worship at Youth Congress.
Nothing is wrong with any of that, but where are the kids who dream of teaching a record amount of Bible studies this year? Where is the young man who hopes to start a campus ministry at his college or the young lady who wants to start an outreach team to canvas the neighborhood near her church?
When did we begin losing our focus on our true purpose and commission? Could it be because our parents had to sacrifice and work so hard to build churches from scratch that we never had to? We were born into a booming movement and a steady congregation where the price was already paid. We got cozy attending our youth events and socializing with those already saved, and forgot there’s so much more to being Pentecostal. They are lost. They are dying without the truth and suffering through life not knowing there’s an answer. Not knowing there’s hope.
You and I are responsible. Yes, I’ll admit I’ve slacked. I’ve so enjoyed the safe world in which I dwell that I’ve grown quite content just living where I’m accepted and don’t have to put myself out there and witness. It’s not a popular thing to do. It’s far more dazzling to be behind the pulpit or holding a microphone, but in the end, is it all you want? It can’t be. It’s a calling we all share and something you can’t deny if you dig deep enough.
This year, we’ve got to get in touch with that calling—the Great Commission Jesus gave to each and every one of us. Live your dreams. Go to conferences and retreats. Attend Bible college if God leads you there. Love your friends. But love the lost. Love the streets. Love the homeless. Love teaching Bible studies. Love the work more than you love the spotlight. If we will, I think we’ll be surprised at its effect. There will be a wholeness—a God-given completion in each of us because we are fulfilling our purpose and destiny.
Some Scriptures to remind us of our mission
Matthew 22:9- Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Matthew 28: 19- Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mark 16:15- And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Luke 19:10- For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.