I have been reading through our Readiness360 reports again and again. I have been thinking and praying that God would reveal to me why a group of disciples who love their church and love Jesus might get stuck, seemingly unable to break through and reach new people and make new disciples. While other churches in similar situations were able to. It seems as though some churches have IT and some don't. How do you get IT?
Given an hour to solve a problem if his life depended on it would spend 55 minutes clarifying the question needing to be answered, then it would be easy to answer it in the 5 minutes remaining.
I think if was Isaac Newton who said that...or something close. Having the right question helped me as well as I realized this was our challenge. We needed to ask ourselves the right question. We had tried harder, thinking it was about our effort. We had tried more, thinking it was about our commitment. We had been asking ourselves why people weren't coming, thinking there was a silver bullet.
Then it struck me, the right question was, "Who are we supposed to be?" We are called to be disciples. God called us to show the world His light, as the city on a hill. We can't control who comes to the light; that is God's department, stirring hearts, opening eyes. Our charge is to be faithful disciples, to grow in our relationship with God and our neighbor. Our pastor's and our leaders task is to equip the church to be ministers of God.
So, we will focus on becoming disciples who love Jesus and love our community like Jesus loves them.
Love Jesus and Love our Community
This happens as disciples GATHER, GROW, and GO. It's the disciples treadmill. We are invited in and connected to others in the church as we Gather with other Christians as a witness to what God can do and is doing. God draws us to Grow in small groups and personally, developing the lifestyle of Jesus which leads us to GO and lead others to a relationship with Jesus and they too can begin to gather. It's a cycle that leads us forward and back.
I believe the church has done a great job of getting folks to believe. Many think this is all that God requires. It sure sounds biblical. And that has created a bottle neck in the spiritual growth of our churches. Many people believe, but fewer follow day to day. We want to help people follow Jesus and lead others to Jesus.
It's a process and we wanted to clarify this process.
Organically our spiritual life begins before we realize it, as we start searching for an explanation to God's grace we sense in our lives. When we respond to it, we become believers as we are justified by God's grace. At that moment we begin to follow Jesus, who in sanctifying us, changes the trajectory of our lives so that He uses us to lead others into a relationship with Jesus. As leaders we continue to walk with others who are on the journey, following the steps of Jesus.
Stay tuned for more details on where you might be standing on the disciples steps.