We are continuing to look at the “Jesus Steps” to growing a healthy Church…
3> MAKE DISCIPLES:
Jesus prayed this prayer at the end of His life on earth:
“The word you have given to Me I have given to the men You have given Me.” (John 17:8)
Jesus invested Himself in others
He discipled, coached, and encouraged them!
Who are the men and women God has given you?
He has people just for you
Church is about intentionally investing in other peoples’ lives
If we are meeting with those people, pouring into them, praying together, and growing together, we don’t worry about our churches turning into (little) selfish holy huddles
Instead, we will be growing, dynamic, Jesus-following, Jesus-obeying, Spirit-led communities where the power and presence of God touches and changes lives
If a church is having problems with people sitting around nitpicking and complaining
We need to get those people going for God
I have learned by experience that if you want people to grow, you have to motivate them to make disciples, to pray for people, and to be outward-focused
Disciple making does not have to start AFTER people become Christians
If you really think about it, there’s no biblical difference between discipleship and evangelism
Discipleship is simply a journey we enter into that takes people from where they are (unsaved) to the cross (saved) and beyond….
The journey (discipleship) starts when you and they connect
As soon as we befriend someone we are walking with them and so we are on a spiritual journey that will, in time, take them across the line of faith and into the Kingdom = discipleship
Bill was working in Amman, Jordan, with a church-planting team
He also had a circle of Muslim friends
The Church-planting team started meeting together in Bill’s house to pray for their community
One day, one of Bill’s Muslim friends discovered that people were meeting regularly at Bill’s house and he wondered why he was not invited
In his mind, they were “secret” meetings, and in Muslim culture, the home is always open and welcome to friends. Friends don’t have secret meetings.
So, Bill’s friend came to him and asked, “Why haven’t you told me about this meeting in your home” May I attend?”
Now imagine, the church-planting team was meeting to strategize and pray about how they could reach the Muslim people in the community … and a Muslim man wanted to attend.
Bill assured his friend that he could attend, meanwhile telling the church-planting team not to speak in ‘Christianese’ so that his friend would feel more at home
At the first meeting Bill’s friend attended, the group met together over a meal, and then had a short Bible study from the Sermon on the Mount. They sang together and talked about the words of Jesus
Afterwards, the Muslim friend said, “I really enjoyed that. May I come again?”
“Sure,” Bill said, “And this time, you lead the discussion.”
“But what will I say?” the Muslim friend wondered
Bill assured him, “I’ll meet with you before the meeting and we’ll discuss it. And I’ll give you some books to read beforehand.”
At the next meeting, a Muslim led a Christian church-planting team in a Bible study!
The next week, Bill’s Muslim friend said to him, “How did I do? I didn’t quite understand what Jesus meant when He said these words.”
It was an open door, and Bill and his Muslim friend continued many months of studying the words of Jesus together.
Today, that Muslim friend is a leader in a small community of Jesus followers
Bill started mentoring (discipling) his friend before he chose to follow Jesus
Discipleship can start before people become Christians, because discipleship is really just a spiritual journey of sharing Jesus, of loving people, of planting a seed of faith and of inviting people into a love relationship with Jesus
If our churches are not highly religious, and if we speak in common language instead of Christianese, people who are not yet Christians will be free to come and join us. They will feel at home with other NORMAL people. If we gather primarily around food and fellowship, people from all walks of faith and life just naturally fit in.
2> Meet (people)
3> Make (disciples)
We will look at step four tomorrow…