Equipped to Share the Good News
When Joe and Talitha Green moved into an apartment complex in Tacoma, Wash., to intentionally build relationships with neighbors, they witnessed God at work in surprising ways.
“Basically, it was an apartment ministry,” said Joe Green. “You live in the apartments and engraft yourself in the community and do events to get the community out, to get to know them and engage, with the hope of being able to share the gospel.”
The work is commonly known as a ministry of presence. The Greens moved into one of the apartments, started prayer walking, and started hosting gatherings and events with food and activities. They formed one particularly meaningful relationship with one family: a young girl and her grandmother.
“Grandma always came, she always volunteered. We began to build a relationship with her. Overtime, the little girl asked if we could be like parents,” said Green. “It’s a mind-blowing thing to have someone ask you that. We talked to Grandma ... and the grandma said, ‘I would love for you to be part of her life like that.’”
Through their relationship with the girl—who they now call “Godbaby”—and her grandmother, the couple was able to share their faith in Christ.
“Over the course of time, Grandma got baptized,” said Green. “Then Godbaby got baptized. It was just an amazing thing to see.”
Joe and Talitha share this story in Witness: Equipped to Share the Good News, a new curriculum developed by Amy Schenkel, a Resonate Global Mission regional mission leader. Witness is a self-guided course for individuals, churches, or small groups that will help you reflect on what it means to be a witness for Christ in your neighborhood—and then to take practical steps to join God at work in your neighborhood.
In the 2021 Christian Reformed Church in North America denominational survey, only 22 percent of respondents said that it was “definitely true” that they intentionally build relationships with people who are not Christians. Only 15 percent of respondents said that it was “definitely true” that their church “clearly reflects a holistic commitment to reaching the unchurched in our community and beyond.”
But those statistics represent habits—not necessarily what CRCNA members want to do.
“In conversations with local churches I hear the desire of people to share the good news with their neighbor, but the ways they've been taught to do so feels too threatening,” said Schenkel.
It is increasingly common today than in decades past to come across people who do not know anything about the gospel. Or, they may know about Jesus and may have even attended church, but they do not believe that Christianity—or spirituality in general—is relevant for their life today.
“In my own life, I realized I was developing relationships with my neighbors, but I wondered what the next step of verbalizing the gospel should look like with them,” said Schenkel.
That’s why she developed the Witness curriculum.
“The project required a lot of listening to and learning from others who are sharing the gospel in similar contexts where people are increasingly unfamiliar with the basics of Christianity,” said Schenkel. “I have already been so ‘wowed’ by how the Spirit has been at work in the writing and preparing this curriculum … the testimonies of those who share on the videos are powerful reminders that God has been at work in this process.”
Schenkel said she hopes Witness helps to facilitate good conversation about what it looks like for believers to share the good news.
But she also hopes it does not stop with conversation.
“I long to hear stories of how people are using the participant guide to actually live out being a witness in their own neighborhoods,” she said. “I am praying that God uses this simple tool to change hearts and lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Witness is free to download on Resonate’s website, or available to order from Faith Alive, andincludes a personal journal, a small group discussion guide, and video testimonies from the Greens and other believers.
“I think that the first step is saying ‘yes’ to God and then putting one foot in front of the other and trusting him in the process,” said Joe Green. “If all you can do is show up, God will show up more every time.”
Take your first step at www.resonateglobalmission.org/witness.