Introduction: I am reading a book about early church leaders. One
significant area of dispute was the issue of church organization.
That controversy is reflected in the Christian church today. Some
churches are heavily organized while others have little, if any,
formal organization. The idea behind little, formal organization is
that Christ is the head of the church, therefore the Holy Spirit is
all the organization you need. Those in favor of more organization
would respond that the Holy Spirit guides leaders to create the
proper organizational structure. How about witnessing? Should that
be organized? Our studies so far suggest organization, so let’s jump
into our lesson and learn more!
- Read Acts 1:6-9. Our lesson points to verse 8 as an
example of organization for witnessing? Do you agree? Is
this a plan for organization? Or is this just a
- If you see organization in this, how organized is
- Consider again verse 6. Is verse 8 an answer to the
question of verse 6? Does verse 6 give us an idea
about how the disciples would organize witnessing if
they were left to their own ideas? (They were focused
on Israel. Jesus told them their “kingdom restoration
message” was for the world. We need to check our
witnessing ideas against God’s plan.)
- These verses not only have direction on the geography
of witnessing, they contain directions on the timing
of witnessing. Who is in charge of the timing? (The
- Is that still true today?
- What do we do if we don’t “feel the power” of
the Holy Spirit? Should we table our witnessing
plans until we do?
- Peter, James, John and Paul are some of the most prominent
names in the New Testament. Let’s read Galatians 2:7-9.
What organization do you see in these verses?
- How would you apply this idea today? Should certain
members go to certain racial groups? Certain
nationalities? Or is there a more logical way to
organize our witnessing today?
- If so, what is it?
- Read Luke 10:1-2. Is sending out witnesses “two by two” an
organizational issue? Why go out in couples? (I do not
like to travel alone on business. I prefer to go with at
least one other person. The idea of sending witnesses out
with companions no doubt encouraged them in their work and
made their work more pleasant.)
- Notice that they went to towns before Jesus went to
that town. What do you think was the reason for that?
- How would you duplicate that organization today?
(The advance teams were no doubt to create
interest in Jesus’ coming. I think this is
similar to advertising today. It is similar to
“word of mouth” work prior to a witnessing
series. It seems to bolster the idea of doing
advance cultivation for witnessing.)
- These texts point to organization in witnessing. They
staked out territories for work, prepared the area and
worked in teams. Let’s explore next the specific kinds of
organization for witnessing we can have as part of our
- Meeting Places
- Read Acts 13:13-16. Why did Paul take his missionary team
into a synagogue on the Sabbath?
- Read Acts 5:41-42. This text tells us the apostles
witnessed in the temple courts and in homes. Does this
simply mean that they witnessed everywhere? Or, do you
see some organization in this?
- Our lesson suggests (Wednesday) that the new
believers met in the synagogues (and the temple) for
worship with the Jews and met in homes when
worshiping with Gentiles.
- Would you do things that way?
- Was this just a practical matter to get around
Jewish racial rules (see Acts 21:27-29)?
- Should we today have witnessing meetings in our homes
as well as in our churches?
- What advantages do you see in having meetings in
- What disadvantages do you see in having meetings
in our homes?
- In our witnessing plan, should we have certain
types of people met in homes and other types in
church? (If a person has never attended church,
meeting in a home may be a lot less
intimidating. It certainly is less of a “step”
to invite someone to your home than to invite
them to your church.)
- Creating New Churches
- Read Acts 14:21-23. This text shows that Paul and Barnabas
were “planting” new churches in each of these towns. Our
lesson has a quote from C. Peter Wagner (Church Planting
for a Greater Harvest, p.11) that the “single most
effective evangelistic methodology” is creating new
churches. Do you agree?
- If you do, why is the creation of a new church a
better outreach than strengthening an existing
- Do you sometimes think that your church could do a
better job of outreach and a better job of holding
present members if you simply had more members and
- Verse 23 tells us that they appointed local elders in
each of these new churches. What is the point of
that? Does this have anything to do with witnessing?
(This points to the real issue. A large church will
have more resources and be able to make a more
“polished” outreach. However, big churches allow
people to just ride along with the program. In a
smaller church, the individual members are more
likely to be involved. Being involved makes you an
“owner” of the program. Paul appointed local elders
so that they would understand it was their church and
their program. If you have a bigger church, I think
small groups are incredibly important because they
allow for personal involvement.)
- Has your church ever “planted” another church? Do you
have any plans to plant a new church?
- Bi-vocational Workers
- Read Acts 18:1-5. Recently, someone mentioned to me that
the trend in this area is to have more church pastors who
have another job. They are called “bi-vocational
- Was Paul a bi-vocational pastor? (Yes. He was a
preacher and a tent-maker.)
- Is this the ideal? What advantages or disadvantages
to you see in organizing your church along those
- Would it be better to have two bi-vocational
pastors than one full-time pastor?
- If you consider only verses 1-4, is Paul spending
more time making tents or preaching the gospel? (It
seems he is preaching only on Sabbath.)
- What allowed Paul to devote himself exclusively to
preaching? (Verse 5: the arrival of two other
- Does this progression (by Paul) to full time
work make it appear that the ideal is to have
full-time pastors?(I am not sure it is a
progression. Some verses make it seem that Paul
was engaged in full-time witnessing before.
However, verses like Acts 17:2 suggest that he
had a past of preaching on Sabbaths and perhaps
working as a tentmaker during the week.(See also
2 Corinthians 11:8-9, Acts 20:33-35 and 1
- Or, is it just an obviously inefficient use of
Paul’s time to be making tents?
- Is there a lesson in this for our witnessing? Do
we have an excuse for not spending part of our
time in witnessing activities for others?
- Friend, our study today seems to indicate that God prefers
organization in witnessing. Has your church developed a
plan for witnessing? Are you willing to suggest one?
- Next Week: Places and Occasions for Witnessing