The face of our societies is changing. People’s world views are adjusting. We live in a different world than even 10 years ago…and the world in 10 years time will, again, be vastly different from today. So, what worked in leading people to an experience with Jesus and thus salvation ten years ago does not work today. And what works today will most likely not work in another decade. Remembering that the message never changes but the methods used to communicate the message must – let’s look at five things we will need to face in the next ten years…
1> We will need a clear understanding of the Gospel – not a cultural understanding. The Gospel is not “you do.” You say a sinner’s prayer, you change your life style, you change your behavior, you now read your Bible and pray. The true Gospel is “Jesus did. So we need to understand that people do not need to be taught to turn over a new leaf – they need to receive and live out a new life. They need to come to understand that, like Paul, it is “not I that lives but Christ living through me.” This new life is from Jesus’ death on the cross, for our sin and in our place. It is not about us – it is all about Him.
So, we need to have a new and clearer focus of the Gospel of the Kingdom and learn how to express it in a way that the changing culture we live in can understand and receive. Often we simply know enough to be saved but don’t know it well enough to share effectively. Time to become aware of the true Gospel of the Kingdom and not the gospel of salvation; the biblical gospel and not the cultural one.
2> A stronger focus on discipleship. The Church is rediscovering the need to “go into all the world and make disciples.” Not Christians, not converts, not followers, not believers…disciples! Jesus chose this word on purpose. He could have chosen others to describe those who came to believe in Him and receive His forgiveness and new life.
We need to be disciples before we can “make disciples.” And, becoming a true disciple is not something that happens but accident. It must be something we do intentionally. So, leaders of local churches need to be aware of the need to make disciples and be going about intentionally doing that. And, they must intentionally tell their followers to also be intentional in their obedience to the command to “go into all the world and make disciples.” Remembering, of course, you cannot reproduce something you are not yourself. Healthy disciples birth more healthy disciples.
In most churches discipleship is lacking. It needs to become a vital part of our DNA and not simply another program to buy into. It is the Christian life!
More next time…