We really believe that we head up societies of people which have the power to change lives.
Rufus Jones (Quaker) – in Friend Of Life ‘The greatest miracle we know in our world is the way a person who has failed, like the rest of us – suddenly becomes a saint – and therefore a transmitter.’
Does my church have the capacity to create saints? Are we committed to producing saints?
Am I one?
People grow by imitation!
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Colossians is core discipleship teaching.
Mature here = telios (perfect!)
If Paul had a business card what would he put on it? Evangelist? No – ‘Perfect Disciple Member.’
When you approach people, hold a crown just above their head so they can grow into it. That’s what Paul did.
Question to ask ; How does this help people mature?
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
There comes a point at which you realise, ‘Now I’m following Jesus.’ That’s not it yet. Go deeper! Get built in Him. Build up. Stronger. Overflow – with gratitude, look for things to be grateful for. One of the marks of maturity is not taking everyone for granted but being (and saying) thankful.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Paul knows we have a lot of recovery to do with people. Pull out the old wiring. The broken world they grew up in has polluted so – PUT TO DEATH! Get violent about this.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
This is a lifetimes work. Don’t kid anyone it happens in a weekend! This is about TRAINING.
All small groups in the church need to be around one of these things;
REINVENTION – Growing community and Bible
TRAINING IN LEADERSHIP
Look at the church generationally together. What questions are they asking? Do we preach a message that connects with them?
Teens are asking – ‘Who am I, and who am I becoming?’ (CONFUSION).
Young adults – ‘What will I do with my life, and with whom?’ (DIRECTION).
Thirties – ‘How do I manage all my responsibilities and commitments?’ (ORDER)
Mid-life – ‘How do I deal with my disappointments, and successes?’ (ASSESSING). Around the age of 47, many people are very disappointed.
50s – What parts of my life need to be rearranged for a satisfying second-half (or shall we just give up?) PASSIVITY/INTENTIONALTY
60s – As my life gets quieter, what legacy of value have/will I contribute?
Older – How do I deal with the increasing amounts of loss in my life? GRIEVING/LONELINESS
What is my place in a world that tends to regard me as weak and obsolete? WISDOM or WITHDRAWAL
How do I deal with the inevitability of death? QUIT or ANTICIPATE.
How do we preach to all these people? How does Jesus speak into these questions? Be more mindful of these questions! If we are going to build life changing churches we have to address the change of life questions.
On a single Sunday:
The main event in our church, that draws everyone together – is clear from how you construct your architecture. Is it holy ground; where people carve out space and build an altar. Are we expecting lives to be touched by the speaking God?
We usually do 4 things;
Worship – call on ‘a higher power.’
Prayer – pouring out who He is and remembering who we are. Why not include…
Invocation; recognise who God is
Pastoral; pray for the people, lift them to God. People learn to pray from hearing the Pastor pray.
Dedication; don’t be embarrassed about the offering, it links work with worship.
Illumination; before the Word
Benediction; recognise that we are now going out to serve, with a cheer and a challenge to make a difference.
Old people go to church to see people! They probably have heard most of the talks, they don’t like the music much. Make sure they connect.
Who are these people who experience these things? What’s the dominating mood as they enter?
Tired, Doubting, Angry, Pained, Fearful, Overwhelmed, Addicted, Guilty, Joyful, Numb???
So, if I have about 80 mins with them, to do those 4 things above – what ought they be like AFTER? (What are our Outcomes?).
Graced, Peaceful, Assured, Energised, Deeper Faith, Belonging, Courageous, Instructed, Purposed, Generous.