Looking back to the majority of my time growing up in the church I can only think of maybe a few times when there was an emphasis my responsibility as far as the Great Commission was concerned and then any training on how I might go about teaching or discipling others. We had the usual Missions Emphasis months where we heard Missionaries come and share about what they did, but I can not remember a time where I was prepared on how to share my faith intentionally with other people around me. I genuinely loved church and loved going, but looking back have some questions about the intentions of how I was prepared to make disciples.
Thinking about my time in church growing up and looking at the churches we have worked with and focus on this question comes to mind…
Is your church more like a country club or a military barracks?
Does your church relate more to a country club where everything is catered to the members or does it look more like a military barracks where everything about it is for training the people inside for the cause outside?
A country club is, typically, a very nice looking place that is well kept up and very well taken care of and everything about it is so that the members feel special and comfortable. When you join a country club you are given access to amenities that others can’t enjoy. The workers exist to make sure you’re happy. Their sole job is to make sure you are comfortable and have everything you need to enjoy yourself.
On the other hand, military barracks exist to make sure you don’t enjoy any of the normal comforts. The buildings are stripped bare and the people that work there are focused on training the people inside. Everything that is done in the barracks is to prepare soldiers for life outside.
When I look back at Jesus’ ministry I don’t see a whole lot of him being concerned about people’s comforts. When Jesus sent out the seventy-two in Luke 10 he specifically tells them to not take a purse or bag or sandals. Psalm 23 is a whole chapter about living in an uncomfortable world and relying on God to survive. Paul talks extensively about suffering for the Gospel and he knew a thing or two about suffering.
So, the question is, what is the purpose of the church? The directive we see from Jesus is to go into all of the world, be his witnesses, make disciples, train people to do all that he taught and baptize people in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. If that is what we as Christians should be doing then the church should be a training ground for us to get people ready to do the things that Jesus commanded us to do. If we spend all of our energy trying to make everyone happy we’ll likely never succeed and we’ll sacrifice the Great Commission in the process.
Here2There has developed something called +1(plus one) discipleship. It is the idea that whatever you’re doing you bring someone along with you. If, when you do ministry or are serving in some way, you just bring someone with you then you have started the process of discipling them. Eventually, either you will be absent one time and that gives you the opportunity to allow that person to do the job. Now, you’ve multiplied yourself and you can split off to another area or go do a new work and the ministry workforce has now grown because of the time you spent with that person.
Some things your church(or you) could do are having classes that focus on the many different ways there are to share the gospel. Engage your missionaries if they’re in town for any length of time to come in and teach the church about how they share the gospel in the cultural context in which they live. Begin to imply some sort of accountability and encouragement for each other about intentionally building relationships with neighbors in order to get the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them and the good news of His salvation. Here2There would love to help you in this area. Please check out our website at here2there.org, we have some great resources for you to read and share. If you need help beyond that you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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