I think we get too hung up on “qualifications”, both for vocational ministry as well as being a personal witness wherever God has placed us. Don’t get me wrong, I think good biblical training is valuable and if someone has the opportunity and leading to get it, they should. I’ve been blessed to receive great training. I also don’t mean to minimize or set aside the qualifications set forth in the New Testament for church leadership.
What I am addressing here is the thought many believers–including me–have had in feeling inadequate to set forth in ministry and be a witness for Christ. Whether it is a fear of not knowing enough or saying something wrong or just not being eloquent with our words. Maybe we think we are not mature enough or old enough or even young enough. Whatever the exact issue may be, the end result is the same. We don’t step out into ministry, whatever that ministry may look like for us.
Jesus really flips things on their head though. There are many examples of this in scripture, but I am just going to point out one for now.
Mark 5:1-20 contains the story of a man possessed by so many demons he calls himself “Legion”. Jesus delivers this man and drives the demons out and into a herd of 2,000 pigs that then rush headlong into the water and drown. The people of that area beg Jesus to leave and as He is, this scene unfolds,
“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” – Mark 5:18-20
This man has known Jesus for less than a day and Jesus sends him to a region of ten cities (Decapolis) to witness about “how much the Lord has done for [him], and how he has had mercy on [him]”.
That is the simple gospel message. Telling our testimony. The moment he was saved, he was “qualified” to witness, to tell what the Lord has done and of His great mercy.
We don’t know the rest of his story other than that “all the people were amazed.” Maybe later he joined the early Church and received further training, who knows? All we know is that Jesus had a ministry for him to go back to his home and to his people and to share his testimony.
To be a witness for Christ, the only qualification needed is Christ. If God entrusted a region of ten cities to a man who had been living as an outcast in caves possessed by a legion of demons, you and I are qualified to share the work Christ has done in us. Our weaknesses, failures, or lack of eloquence only serve to reinforce the message of the gospel as well as make other broken sinners feel like they too can receive mercy.