In the last few weeks I have been summarizing from Robert Coleman’s book and lectures about Jesus’ “Master Plan of Evangelism.”
The first week we covered the Incarnation. Jesus has always been God’s Son, the second person of the Trinity. When Jesus became a man He went from a glorious position to a humble position. He did this to love and serve people and to point them to GOD and His ways. Likewise, we as Christians should emulate the incarnation by becoming humble, loving and serving people, and pointing them to GOD and His ways.
The second week we covered Selection – Jesus called people to Himself; He called people who gravitated toward Him, who wanted to follow Him, and then He trained these disciples to reproduce disciples. Likewise, we as Christians should be disciples of Jesus, learning as much as we can, putting it into practice, and then looking for people who are eager to grow in Christ and walk with us doing ministry together. If people push back, don’t try to force it; rather role with those who want to role with you.
This week we are covering a third topic, Association. Jesus taught us by example that we are to minister to and serve those we already have an association with. But we are to build a relationship with these people so that it becomes more than just an association. If all we ever do is make people feel like a number or a notch in our belts, then people will be put off. We need to build relationships with people in our church, in our neighborhoods, at work, school, sports teams, etc. The goal is to build personal relationships with people. Those who will ask you to disciple them, it will be because they like you and want to learn from you. Those who want to learn about the gospel from you, it will be because you built a bridge and were there for them even if they never wanted to hear anything about Christ from you.
One of the down sides of mass evangelistic crusades and revival meetings or outreach events is there is a lack of a personal touch, and thus people might respond to the message of Christ crucified for their sins, but they will not know what to do with their new found faith unless a personal relationship with a Christian is made with the intention of helping the person grow in faith and get involved in the mission of the gospel. We need to have a personal touch when reaching out, and we need to call for a personal response. The long term effect of accepting Christ without discipleship will be that the church to them will become a building or will be about what happens on Sunday mornings rather than about everyday church lived out in community on mission.
Large group discipleship classes are okay, small group discipleship groups are better, and one-on-one discipleship is best. The smaller the group the better because the goal is not just to teach doctrine, but to show people how doctrine applies to everyday life.
Some examples of everyday discipleship:
- Bring disciples into the routine of daily life. Those you know, minister to them or with them in everyday life.
- Seek ways for casual fellowship (e.g., coffee, fishing, meals together, working out together, working with one another on projects, etc.)
- Arrange times for prayer and study of the Bible.
- Occasionally have extended periods of reflection with those your are discipling.
Our goal at Grace Church is not to emphasize a program or schemes to draw people in. Our goal at Grace is to love each other in practical ways in community with one another and to extend that love beyond those who regularly attend Grace Church. This is what it means to live on mission together, to live the Great Commission lifestyle.