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Witness Toolbox

A Toolbox of witness tools for you and your ministry!  


“A Christian with a glowing witness is worth a library full of arguments.” Adrian Rogers.

Christ Assembly, an African immigrant Lutheran congregation in Staten Island, was established by Rev. Phillip Saywrayne, a Liberian Pastor, with his family and few friends. The Church’s humble beginnings took shape when Rev. Saywrayne approached St. John Lutheran Church for a space to accommodate the growing number of African immigrants seeking a place of worship. Initially, they were offered a small area within a library, but as their congregation grew, it became clear that a larger space was needed. Efforts were made to integrate the African worshipers into the St. John Lutheran congregation, but differences in cultural worship styles presented challenges. With the assistance of the Atlantic District, they embarked on a transformative endeavor: converting an abandoned bagel factory into a new worship space. Today, Christ Assembly is a growing church, drawing attendees from various locations across New York. It has become one of the largest congregations in Manhattan’s regional denomination. Through their resilience and unwavering faith, the members of Christ Assembly have created a vibrant community where African immigrants can gather to worship, connect, and find spiritual support. 
Inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles Peter and John, after Pentecost, were deeply impacted. Their hearts burned with an irresistible urge to testify to what they had seen and experienced (Acts 4:20). They could not help but declare the grace of Jesus Christ, compelled by the inner fire ignited by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle John, in his first letter, declared that he and his fellow witnesses would boldly proclaim what they had seen and touched—the very manifestation of God’s love in the person of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1-3). Their witness was not mere intellectual arguments; it flowed from a deep encounter with the living God.
A true witness is not just a duty but a powerful expression of love and compassion. It stems from a profound desire to see others encounter the life-changing grace of Jesus. Just as the fire catches from a furnace, the flame of our witness is ignited by the love of God burning within us, compelling us to reach out to our neighbors with obedient faith. It is driven by the overlapping of the great commandment—to love God with all our hearts—and the great commission—to make disciples of all nations. In this intersection lies a great hall of fire, a place where the transformative message of the gospel is ignited and sent forth into the world.
As we share the love of God, our hearts will be filled with gratitude and at the same time recognize a sense of urgency because the days are drawing near, and the final judgment awaits. Therefore, our witness becomes an act of deep compassion, and an intentional response to the greatest call of eternity.

Discovering Witness 
Bearing witness held considerable importance in shaping societies in the ancient world by contributing to legal proceedings and social harmony. This process involved participating in acts of oath-taking, which were founded based on trustworthy communal testimonies and reputation. It regulated relationships and fostered accountability by enhancing societal stability and unity by rendering equitable justice.
The Greek word for witness, “martus,” implies various usages in the Bible, each of which we will explore below:
Firstly, the concept of witness signifies identity, primarily God as the one who testifies for His Son (1 John 5:9) and Jesus testifying about His Father (John 8:18). Followers of Christ are also addressed in the same manner. Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Secondly, the idea of a witness means doing the actual work of bearing testimony. In the book of Acts, Stephen recounted the history of Israel and boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. Paul’s missionary journeys throughout the Roman Empire testified to the truth about Christ (Acts 13-28).
Thirdly, the biblical concept of witness also refers to the means we bear witness for, particularly testifying to and about the gospel and its power. In John 5:39, Jesus says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” Additionally, in Acts 4:33, the apostles are described as bearing witness to the resurrection of Jesus: “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”
Fourthly, the concept of witness entails a sacrificial commitment to the point of bearing suffering and even facing death, as the words “martyrdom” and “martus” are related. In Revelation 2:13, the Church in Pergamum is commended for holding fast to their faith even in the face of persecution: “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
Lastly, Christian witness goes beyond individual testimony and encompasses the collective representation of Christ’s people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Interethnic witness, in this context, reflects God’s love across different cultural landscapes, driven by a missional outlook deeply anchored in the gospel. The foundation of our collective witness is the universality of God’s love, which transcends cultural and ethnic boundaries. This effort involves embracing the rich tapestry of cultural diversity within the global Christian community. Paul’s missionary journeys exemplify adapting one’s approach to evangelism according to the specific cultural context. In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Paul writes, “To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews…To those outside the law, I became as one outside the law…To the weak, I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”

Clouds of Witnesses
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
The writer of Hebrew reminds us that a great cloud of witnesses surrounds us – those who have gone before us, shining examples of faithfulness and dedication to the gospel. Their witness inspires and encourages us to press on, to throw off anything that hinders us, and to run with perseverance. We carry their legacy of faith as we continue the race, sharing the love of Jesus with the people around us.
Like clouds drifting across the sky, witnesses traverse the pages of Scripture, each carrying a unique message that resounds through the ages. Their testimonies, woven together, create a grand symphony of faith, inspiring generations to run the race with endurance and courage.
As we embark on this story, let us immerse ourselves in the captivating examples of these witnesses, allowing their lives to speak to our journeys of faith. 
In the wilderness, Abraham erected altars, raising them as pillars of worship to proclaim the name of Yahweh. These altars served as tangible reminders of his unwavering devotion, testifying to the world that a God reigns over all.
Moving forward, we encounter Moses, the deliverer of Israel from Egypt. In the barren desert, he witnessed the construction of the Tabernacle, a sacred dwelling place for the presence of God. Through this portable sanctuary, Moses declared the Lordship of Yahweh, leading His people with unwavering faith and conviction. The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night symbolized God’s guidance and power, a constant reminder of His presence among them and the nations around them. 
Our journey takes us further into the depths of Babylonian exile, where faithful witnesses emerged amidst despair. Their voices, echoing that of Isaiah, affirmed the greatness of God, proclaiming His sovereignty and unmatched power. In the face of adversity, these witnesses revealed the character of God, assuring the exiled community that even in their darkest moments, Yahweh would prevail.
But clouds of witnesses would not be complete without the arrival of John the Baptist, the voice crying out in the wilderness. With unwavering conviction, he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, calling people to repentance. John’s witness, marked by selflessness and humility, prepared the hearts of many for the transformative ministry of Jesus Christ.
And then, in the fullness of time, Jesus himself stepped onto the stage of human history, the ultimate witness of God’s love and redemption. His life was a symphony of grace as He proclaimed the kingdom of God, performed healing miracles, and extended mercy to the outcast and marginalized. His witness culminated in His sacrificial death on the cross, an act of love that shattered the chains of sin and ushered in the hope of resurrection.
But the story did not end there. Jesus, before his ascension, promised to send the Holy Spirit as a source of power and empowerment to His followers. And true to His word, the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost, clothing the disciples with boldness and authority. Transformed by this encounter, they became witnesses, carrying the torch of the gospel to the ends of the earth.
As we contemplate the lives of these witnesses, we find ourselves surrounded by a heavenly audience cheering us on. Inspired by their unwavering faith, we are called to run the race of faith with endurance, never losing sight of the hope before us. Their testimonies remind us that we are not alone in our journey, for we stand in the company of giants who have gone before us, their stories serving as guideposts and sources of encouragement.
In the grand narrative of biblical witness, we have a vital role. Embrace the calling to be a witness, letting our life speak of God’s love, redemption, and transformation. Run with perseverance, for the cloud of witnesses surrounds us, a mighty chorus of faith cheering us on. And as we cross the finish line, may our witness inspire others to join the race, ensuring that the cloud of witnesses continues to grow, bearing witness to the glorious story of God’s faithfulness throughout the ages.