We are experiencing a fast drift away from a biblical culture. There’s a lot of shifting going on in terms of morality and even what it means to be a human.
What has not changed?
The Great Commission!
1) Discipleship is our primary business. There is ONE imperative in this commission. Disciple making is the number one mandate of what we are here to do. To help make followers of Jesus. We have often thought in terms of numbers and buildings. And it’s good not to think small. But it’s about building big people. Shift focus. So there mission here = ‘Transforming lives from our neighbourhoods to the nations’. Everything else we do must serve this.
2) Our job is to help people on their discipleship journey. The three participles are GO, BAPTISE and TEACH. Don’t just be strong at one of these (we are good at reaching, or at teaching)! How would someone’s journey look like in your environment. Where are the gaps in your process? How many people who we baptise or do Alpha are still here 6 months on? Are we doing our job well? (idea = Beta course to help bridge that?) How can we work really hard to make sure people don’t just visit once or put up a hand? So people can join easily. What does a transformed life look like? Knowing God, Living In Freedom, Growing in Community.
3) Leverage Teaching to make disciples. Not just 30-40 minutes Sundays, but life on life. But make sure that sermon time delivers on our primary business. What’s the goal of this series? Don’t just mix up messages, people get confused by too much variety. What’s the one thing we want people to grasp in this season? We have seekers and people who have been here 30 years. So have come and see series, and also go and die series (deep end).
4) Utilise small groups for discipleship. Why? Go back to the Great Commission. This is the way Jesus did it. ‘Carry on doing what I’ve done with you.’ He poured his life into them relationally in small settings. He modelled this. Our God’s nature is relational. So this is not cultural. It’s for everyone everywhere. They have Lifegroups, 4 Ws. 90% of average adult Sunday attenders are in them. But there’s a big fringe too who don’t. What can you adapt from all the various models out there? Can you relaunch and refresh into a new series of groups?
5) We are models for discipleship.Jesus said ‘teaching THEM to obey all I have commanded YOU.’ If we want to change a culture, we have to live it. Invitation? Generosity? Modelling matters. Then you don’t have to talk about it too much. It’s just you. But I don’t just have to model where I am strong and have arrived, we have to say ‘I am a work in progress’ – that encourages people. Focus on changing me. Be increasingly healthy. Model that I’m a work in progress
6) We can expect help from the great discipler.‘I am WITH you always!’ Disciple making is our business but we don’t do it alone. Jesus is absent in body but present by his Spirit. We can’t do it but we can partner with him. We can have a right sense of responsibility here but he can do what we can never do. Do we expect that help?!