My church, Life Church, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota began a new chapter four months ago. Our Lead Pastor, Dale Sisam, was seeking God for the next chapter. “Where do you want Life Church, Lord?” was his cry. That cry was answered in the most unusual way.
That may sound strange to some; but if you’re anything like me, you’ll breeze through post after post after post on Facebook just to find something worth commenting on or reading about. This is what happened to Pastor Dale.
He found an article linking to a discipleship organization called, 24toDouble.org. This organization promises that your church will double in size in 24 months. Yet, when you begin to research this organization you find it’s just a marketing gimmick – they even tell you that up-front. The real agenda behind 24toDouble is discipleship.
What is discipleship?
Rick Warren defines it as this…
Discipleship is the process of transformation that changes us to be increasingly more like Christ through the Word (John 17:17), the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18), and circumstance.
Matthew 22:37 (NIV) “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
We are called to love God, first and foremost. It’s something that should be our foundation. Loving God comes as a result of realizing we need a Savior, He loved us first. Out of that salvation comes the desire to be set-apart. We are called to be baptized into Christ through water. This act of baptism doesn’t cause our salvation it solidifies that our decision to follow Christ was truly a heart decision.
We are called to be lovers and worshipers of God. Most Christians believe church is reserved for worship. Yet, why then are we called to be people of worship. Loving God is to worship Him in every area of our lives, not just when we need our God fix.
Romans 12:5-8; “So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
God has granted us each gifts. These gifts are for use to bless and serve those around us. As a pastor, it’s hard to find those perfect volunteers to help serve the congregation. If you’re a pastor reading this you’d agree that most churches run on one of three models: Staff-run; Desperate for help-run; and the chaos run (which is a combination of both).
What most don’t realize our gifts are important for each person. If you don’t know what your gifting is, you won’t know where you fit in the body of Christ. But, if we learn what our gifts are – how much more can we be of use in our local churches?
We are called to serve. Church was never meant to be an all-you-can-eat buffet. But, isn’t that how we treat church? It’s all about me and my wants. Is that how Jesus thought? We were told to go and make…
How do we serve people? Get involved in your local church. Don’t sit around waiting for the pastor to meet your needs. It’s not about him. It’s not the pastor’s job to do the work of the ministry – it’s the job of the people to do the work of the ministry. The job of the pastor is to EQUIP the saints to do the work of the ministry.
Get involved in a small group. This is where life happens in the local church. People studying and praying together – meeting each other’s needs on a practical level.
Matthew 28:18-20; “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.‘ Amen.“
If I were to ask you why you go to church; would you be able to answer? If I were to ask you why you believe in Jesus; would you be able to answer? For most Christians, the answer to both of those is no.
It’s hard for us to share Christ with those who don’t know. Does that make us awful Christians?
We are simply called to live a life the exemplifies Christ in every area. We are simply called to have our faith be the backbone of why we believe what we believe. Being a Christ-follower isn’t about quoting scripture and talking about Jesus to people all the time.
St. Fransis of Assisi said it best, “Preach always and when necessary use words.”
We are called to give generously out of what Christ has given us. LIFE. We have the very life-blood of Jesus flowing through our spiritual veins and out of that we have the ability to flow rivers of living water into the lives of those we come in contact with every day.
Sharing Christ isn’t difficult. You don’t need a degree, you just need passion. Passion is what moves us forward in our faith. Passion is what drives us to have a positive outlook on life, even when life is throwing us curve balls.
Don’t sit on the sidelines. We are called to above all; LOVE GOD, second; SERVE OTHERS, and third; SHARE CHRIST with those around us.
Writing for Him,
J. B. Sisam