It is logical to think that there were times when each of the disciples would have shared their faith on a one-to-one basis, but for the most part we see them in a shared ministry with fellow disciples and being supported by other believers. There is something special about working on an overall plan and receiving support and encouragement from others on the team.
The Bible provides us with a blueprint for effective witnessing and evangelism, and it should not surprise us that, even today, when God raises up someone for a significant responsibility, He inspires a team to gather around the leader.
Without question, the early believers worked together in groups. It makes a lot of sense. Besides each one having specific gifts and talents that others don’t, there’s also protection in numbers. There’s a sense of accountability: others are watching you, others can help guide you, others can help protect you from wandering into directions that tragically might lead you astray. A solid team of faithful brothers and sisters, each one looking out for the other, yet all with the common goal of soul-winning, presents the ideal way of doing outreach.
Read Philippians 1:5–18. What is there in Paul’s commendations to the believers at Philippi that indicates they were engaged in corporate witnessing and evangelism?
At the beginning of his letter to the Philippians, Paul speaks of their fellowship (partnership, NIV) in the gospel (vs. 5). They had defended and confirmed the gospel (vs. 7) and had spoken the word of God without fear (vs. 14). He also shares his joy because Christ is continually preached (vss. 15–18). Remember, Paul is writing to the church, not to individuals. Of course, it would have been individuals who preached Christ, but the fact that Paul commends the church reveals that this evangelistic preaching was a corporate strategy.
Eager to witness, have you ever found yourself tempted in ways that being in a group could have protected you from? Why is it important to cultivate an attitude of humility and accountability if you are going to work with others in a group?