The last words of Christ before His departure from this world to those whom He had trained to carry on His work are of utmost importance to the church today. Notice His exact words: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8 KJV).
This command was given not only to all those who heard Him speak, but also to all who would accept Him in the ages to come. They were to make known to the world the story of the Father’s love and salvation.
Revival and church renewal take place when members use their Bibles to witness
for Christ. Ellen White has written of “a great reformatory movement among God’s
people... Hundreds and thousands were... visiting families, and opening before
them the Word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and
a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence. Great blessings were received by the true and humble people of God” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, page 126).
Duties of the Lay Bible Minister
The work to which a person is called when he or she becomes a lay Bible minister can best be described as follows:
- Bible studies. Most of the time that the lay Bible minister has available will be used to conduct personal Bible studies with individuals and families who have expressed an interest in studying the Word of God. Each study will take one or two hours a week. A regular routine of appointments is important in order to build relationships and help people grow in discipleship.
- Inquirers class. Lay Bible ministers assist with the pastor’s Bible class and bring their students to this class as they begin to attend church. (Sometimes the special Sabbath School class for prospective members is called the discovery class or visitor’s class. It is often led by an elder or a lay Bible minister because the pastor has two or more congregations to work with each Sabbath and cannot attend Sabbath School.)
- Missing member visits. From time to time the pastor may assign the names of former or missing members to visit. This will give you contact with people with whom you will be able to study after you gain their friendship and confidence.
- An undershepherd. The lay Bible minister will help the pastor seek and find the lost. He or she provides the pastoral caring and attention which the pastor will not have the time to give to each prospective member. Often people turn to Christ and begin to think of joining a church at times of crisis in their lives. This means that the lay Bible minister must help to meet their emotional, economic and social needs as well as their spiritual needs and religious questions. Much time may be spent just listening. Time will also be invested in helping prospective members to make friends among church members, attend classes that are important to their growth, such as stop-smoking programs or family life seminars, and make use of the aid provided by Adventist Community Services and other social services.
- Finding prospects. A lay Bible minister is constantly on the alert for people who may be ready to enter into Bible study. He or she will be sensitive to possibilities among friends, relatives, work associates, visitors at church, newcomers in the community, participants in outreach seminars and those who respond to Adventist media ministries and awareness activities. And he or she will learn to invite prospects to begin Bible studies.
Responsibilities in the Local Church. North American Division Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists.
Copyright © 1997, Revised 2017. Permission to copy for local church use.