MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Every Member a Missionary

June 12th, 2018 Viewed 85 times, 1 so far today

Discipleship is a direction, not a destination. What I mean by that is that if we are not moving closer to the Lord, then we are moving further from Him. There is no point where we can declare that we are mature or “mature enough.” There’s no concept of retirement in the Bible. Indeed, many of the Bible figures were working in the ministry well past the ages of our members, and Titus 2 specifically speaks to what older men and women should be doing.

To this end, being a disciple of Christ means that we must continue on our journey making other disciples. The mindset we must therefore foster is that it is everyone’s job to minister, everyone’s job to be a missionary, and everyone’s job to grow.

photo by: jessdone8

Steps to Growth – Prioritization

June 8th, 2018 Viewed 66 times

What kind of priority do we see Christ emphasizing in the Scriptures? This has to be our goal if we’re going to fulfill the Biblical mandate.

A PRIORITY FOR EVERYONE

To quote the Great Commission of Matthew 28, while you are going, make disciples. This was the command of every single disciple and apostle of Christ. It was not given to just certain disciples under certain circumstances, and it is not a call to share the gospel with strangers and end it there. The command would be more clearly written, “As you are going, preach the gospel, baptize them, and then teach them to observe or obey the truths that you have been taught.” It is a call for discipleship, and it is incumbent on everyone to be doing it.

While God has given us pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. to teach believers the work of the ministry, it is implied that all believers would be performing this work. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about one body, many members, but that mean that some members are to be sharing the Gospel and others are to be discipling, for these things are commanded to all disciples.

In this truth is both something we need to confess, and the secret of our strength. I would posit that only a small percentage of the believers at First Baptist are actively sharing the Gospel and Discipling. I would guess that the number of those doing discipling is greater than sharing the Gospel, but even this I would suggest is not 100% or still would have room for growth.

It is therefore imperative for us to help believers to know where they are in terms of this Scriptural command and to be able to take the next steps in faith to move from where they are to a closer communion with God by fulfilling the command to tell the Good News and make disciples where they are.

photo by: jessdone8

Steps to Growth – Confession

June 6th, 2018 Viewed 69 times

Growth is the default behavior of the body of Christ. This does not necessarily mean that if a church body shrinks numerically that it is under divine judgement, but the start of every revival or growth of the body of Christ has begun with an understanding of the sin that may affect the body, confession of that sin, and a renewed desire to follow Christ to the exclusion of all others.

PRECEDENT

In Daniel 9, Daniel the prophet and those with him had not forsaken God, they were steadfast and true to the point of seeing themselves saved from the fiery furnace and the mouths of lions, yet we still find that Daniel prays for himself and his people as if they are the gravest of sinners. He begs the Lord that for His own glory that He would save His people and return them to Judah—even though he was well aware that God had promised to do just that.

In Ezra 9 and 10, there were a relatively small number of people that had intermarried with the people of the land, and Ezra knew this was the reason that there was difficulty in the land. He sought out the Lord’s advice, and had them separate from their wives and children—no small thing.

Throughout the Old Testament and in the book of Acts and Revelation we see that the children of Israel and the churches only see the growth that God can provide when sin has been confessed and repentance is sought. While leadership can plead with the Lord, much like Job pleaded for his children, we will only see growth spiritually or numerically when we realize how far we are from what we need to be in God.

photo by: jessdone8

Motivations for Church Growth

June 5th, 2018 Viewed 63 times

There’s no question that the trajectory that God expects from the people that he has left on this Earth is for growth. It is literally the last thing that he told His disciples to do, and while growth doesn’t always mean numerical growth for a local body of believers, it does mean that every believer should be growing in godliness. Jesus’ allusion to being the true vine shows that God empowers the believer to bring forth fruit, but if there is no fruit then there is a serious issue.

The first thing that we need to analyze before even beginning to think through how to grow the local body of Christ is the question of why we are doing it. There are many poor reasons for pursuing church growth:

  • Remembering the glory days
  • Looking to continue to do the things we used to do
  • Feeling of loss

There are also many others . The pure motives for church growth fit along the line of wanting to see disciples grow in their faith, wanting to see lives changed, victory over sin, and the Word of God proclaimed.

If these things are the destination, then everything that we do—every program, every outreach, every endeavor must be evaluated based on these criteria.

photo by: jessdone8

Discipleship Practiced

April 27th, 2018 Viewed 163 times

What we are doing today?

Lots of modern church practices do not work:

  • It doesn’t work by expecting the Pastor to do all the leading to Christ and discipling.
  • It doesn’t work by attending multiple church services and not growing.

It doesn’t work if people do not live out their faith.

A lot of Christian ministry is based on getting converts. In the 1900s, Evangelists seems more interested in getting people to walk the aisle to count them and their impact than to make disciples. A lot of modern evangelist training focuses heavily on methods of sharing the Gospel in hopes of seeing “people accept Jesus”. It emphasizes “fire insurance” over making disciples. Because of this, the person may not be aware of what they are “signing up” for.

“Discipleship” is often not much more than having someone go through a short book talking about the basics of the faith. It’s almost like initiation into a secret society or club with code words.After  this discipleship class, the new believer is thrown into the main Sunday School classes and Worship Services with people that have had years of training, but the mentoring (in some cases) stops.

How the Biblical Definition Differs

photo by: Chris Yarzab

Discipleship Modeled

April 26th, 2018 Viewed 252 times, 2 so far today

What does Christian Discipleship look like?

The idea of having disciples or apprentices was not a new one to the time. In fact, our modern forms of education would look foreign and wrong to people who passed on their skills to primarily their children and a few other apprentices. It was very common for parents to teach their sons their trade, and then, if they wanted to learn another one, they would always have their primary trade to fall back upon.

If you were headed in a Spiritual direction, you would learn in Scriptures occurred at the feet of a rabbi. This is what Paul is referring to in Acts 22:3 that his heritage was who he grew up under. This is why it wasn’t unheard of to have Jesus choose disciples, for many learned Rabbis would have disciples that would learn what they knew to follow in their footsteps.

photo by: Chris Yarzab

Discipleship Commanded

April 25th, 2018 Viewed 193 times

The Great Commission

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

Let me set the stage for you. Jesus has dramatically risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples. After a few days spent explaining the Old Testament Scriptures to Him and appearing in different places, He’s about to ascend into Heaven where He will go about building a place for us (John 14:2), and He has some final words for those who have gathered. Those words are listed above– go and preach the gospel to every creature.

photo by: Chris Yarzab

Go and Make Disciples

April 24th, 2018 Viewed 192 times

If I were to take you on a tour of our home, upon entering the kitchen you would be sure to notice a colorful wall. From the ceiling to the molding that cuts the room in half is a list of chores that each child is assigned based on their potential ability.

Now, the first time that a child attempts to do a new chore—whether it’s making breakfast, doing the laundry, or washing the dishes—the result of their first effort is usually less than your standards. I mean, I’m still working on cleaning dishes as well as my wife!

It’s tempting to jump in and do it yourself, because you can not only get it done faster, but do it better as well. However, there’s a lot of truth to this quote from D.L. Moody:

It is better to train ten people than to do the work of ten people. But it is harder. – Moody

There is strength in numbers—be it a family or a church—but that power will only come about if we invest the time to train one another. I believe that this is the foundation of New Testament living, and yet it has somehow fallen by the wayside in modern program mindset, and it deserves another look.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.