What would a church look like if it were consumed by both our growth and the growth of the community around us?
Two types of churches: those who overemphasize discipleship at the expense of evangelism and vice versa “relevant” churches. Both criticize each other, saying, “You keep the saved rather than reach the lost” or “God called us to make disciples, not converts.” Jesus isn’t on either side and we’re not going to waste our time criticizing other churches. We need to be occupied with the good news we’re giving to the world. Is it possible to have a church where people are just as excited to take their next step in discipleship as to help another take their next step toward becoming a Christian? Is it possible for a church to be passionate about both discipleship and evangelism? Our vision is that we would see a disciple making movement here in Nelson county and as far as God allows.
How does my life and job fit into God’s big picture? Every Christian has the identity of a disciple maker. Also, discipleship isn’t about attaining an elite status of maturity but to take your next step. Everyone has a next step. Don’t focus on taking step 50. Just take your next step. Discipleship only happens in fruit-bearing relationships. These are our three discipleship paradigm shifts.
What does this have to do with reaching people far from God?
Mark 1:16-18. When Jesus first calls his disciples, he defines discipleship as being a fisher of men. His first introduction into making disciples is that every Christian is a disciple maker.
Ro 10:9-17. Who lead you to Christ? Your conversion was a compilation of the contribution of so many people and situations that God guided into your life. Many people had to obey Christ to contribute something to your eventual conversion. You can help others come one step closer to Christ. Each of us has a role in bringing someone else to Christ.
Evangelism happens in fruit-bearing relationships. It’s easier to hand out tracts or throw a one-time outreach event. This makes us feel good that we’ve obeyed and have fulfilled our responsibility. We can then retreat into safety and complacency again. Solicitors never get invited to barbecues. It’s easy to do something that takes little investment of our lives. Relationships require a larger commitment, committing our lives to other people. However, this starts not with going out to make new relationships. This starts with the relationships you already have. Redeem the relationships and communities you’re already a part of. You already have relationships with people in affinity groups, groups that have formed around a common interest or setting.
When you love people despite your differences, this attracts people to God. We expect our friends to be vulgar. As you invest in people and love them like no one ever has, they will come to trust you.
Two things are needed for this to work: Love & Explicit Faith. People won’t just notice that you’re nice then ask you why you’re different. You need to put your faith out there and make it explicit. If you don’t have love, you’re the person on the street corner with a megaphone blasting at people who think you’re crazy.
John 13:1-5. Jesus served his disciples and loved them even while knowing one would betray him and even while knowing he was king of the universe.
John 13:31-35. Jesus commands his disciples to love each other, and people will know you’re Christians because you love like Jesus. Love even when you know you’ll be betrayed or hurt by the people you love.
The new evangelism strategy takes place through love. People will come to the faith through our living 1 Corinthians 13.
What are you telling yourself so you can resist what the Bible is calling us to?