Part of the prophetic challenge the church (haha - that's all of us) faces right now, is that of coming to terms with the reality of what it takes to make one disciple of Jesus. The church in Western culture has confused this call to go, baptise, make disciples of all nations as 'come, be baptised and listen in one location'. We have reduced discipleship to a 'canned programme' which only a few 'guns' are capable of running and the rest of God's people are sidelined sitting in pews adopting a spectator mentality watching the paid professionals do what we have all been commanded to do. The minister 'ministers' while many sit back and enjoy 'church' from a comfortable distance.
Looking back on Faithpointe's journey in the last 9 months I've realised that under our new structure of small house churches, true traction in fulfilling Jesus command to make disciples cannot be done without involving DEEP RELATIONSHIPS. Jesus didn't simply lead a weekly bible study, He lived life with his disciples and taught through actions and words. We can't be a Christian without being like Christ. A disciple adopts the lifestyle of the master. Jesus continually made room for new relationships - inside and outside the 12 Apostles. Jesus took time to talk with the Samaritan woman at the well, Zaccheus the tax collector, Blind Bartimaeus, etc. He hit the pause button in his day and stretched his relational net wider.
Building new relationships takes one costly ingredient - TIME. Just like we budget our finances, so too we must learn to budget our time in order to find the time it takes to build new relationships. This is where TRUST is formed with your new friend - so they will truly want to take notice of the words you speak when you start sharing your heart with them about following Jesus. You have gained their 'ear' because you have taken time to build a relationship.
Where do you find these 'new friends' that are soon to become 'disciples of Jesus? Here are some suggestions:
Walking your neighbourhood and stopping to talk with people who live near you. Invite them over for a BBQ or afternoon tea.
Joining a local hobby club of things that interest you. Meet likeminded people - the Gym, Sports club, volunteering at local Op Shop, Foodbank, Lions club, FB community groups, online neighbourhood community groups.
If you want to catch fish you can't stay on land!! You need to go to the Ocean where the fish are.
The heart of the prophetic download of 5 Shifts, given to me in May 2020 summarises the responsibility back to the individual believer. Shift #2 - from ATTENDER to DISCIPLE and Shift #5 - from ATTRACTIONAL to MISSIONAL. We simply can't embrace these two Shifts if we are not willing to make room for new relationships. New disciples do not magically appear on our doorstep, with already built-in relational glue with us. Nope. We have to build that and that is the cost of following Jesus. I constantly remind myself that the Great Commission is not the 'Great Suggestion'. It is not optional for me or any other follower of Jesus. It is a command at which I will have to give an account at the end of my life.
If you have made it this far with your read - congratulations - you have overcome the challenge of being challenged . Those of you who know me, will understand anything I write comes out of my own personal challenges. I am challenged right now to live a life of REAL, EVERYDAY, AUTHENTIC discipleship. I am now re-arranging my time to make room for key relationships of people who live in my neighbourhood. I've already done the hard work of building a bridge now I've got to follow through to keep building relational equity with them so my words are not empty and void of power.
God's richest blessings,