There are two things I don’t like in life. One is surprises. Good or bad, I have never liked not being in the loop about what is happening. I’m not a control freak, so I tell myself. I just like to be prepared.
The second one is unclear expectations. I like to know what is expected of me so that I can evaluate my contribution and be evaluated by others based on facts rather than feelings or assumptions.
When it comes to our faith, we have been given a minimal requirement of what is expected of every child of God. These three verses summarize it simply.
John 20:21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Sending us where and to do what?
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
How are we supposed to teach them?
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
We are to pass on to them, that which has been given to us.
The bottom line is this. Disciples of Jesus are expected to help other people become disciples of Jesus.
What does that process look like?
At Living Hope it is a very simple process that is stated as our mission.
Help people: Get to God - Grow in Christ - Give to others
The only way a person can get to God is through a relationship with Jesus. If you do not have a life that is submitted to the love and leadership of Jesus, you cannot know God or gain access to His heaven. Helping people get to God means that you help them know Christ by His grace through faith.
To grow in Christ is to obey Jesus and learn to live in His grace more effectively. The practical steps to do this are: baptism, church membership, Bible study with other church members and daily personal time alone with God in prayer and Bible meditation.
To give to others is to be what Jesus is: generous. Followers of Jesus are to give their time and talent in service to their church and to their world. They are also to give their finances to the Kingdom work of Christ (a tithe or 10% of their income to Jesus’ church).
A disciple of Jesus is responsible to introduce other people to Jesus. If a person believes and receives Christ as the love and leader of their life, then the disciple of Jesus is to help this new Christian be baptized, join a local church, get connected in a Bible study (for us that would be an Adult Bible Fellowship or Small Group) and learn to have a daily devotional time alone with God. They are then to help them find a place of service in the church and world and to show them how to give financially.
The Bible makes this clear:
The minimum requirement of every Christian is not getting people to attend a worship service experience.
The responsibility of every Christian is to help people become followers of Jesus.
Many Christians believe that their primary responsibility is to get someone to attend church with them. That is a wonderful tool to help someone become a disciple of Jesus, but that is not the minimal missional mandate of Jesus.
At our church I have talked about being active in investing and inviting people (i2). The goal I gave was to invest in people’s lives with authentic love and friendship and invite them to attend church and come to love Christ. Many have sought to invite people to church, but then considered their work done. The idea has been that if we get them to church, then the staff and other “better trained” believers will take it from there.
That’s not right. That’s not what Jesus has asked of any of us. He expects each of us, as disciples, to make disciples. This means we are to do more than get someone to attend worship one Sunday.
Our job is to be engaged in what I will be calling (and those of you at Living Hope will be hearing a lot about) the i2 process.
Invest in people with love.
Invite them to know Christ and help people:
know Jesus Christ > be baptized > join our local church > get connected in an ABF or Small Group > spend time in daily devotions with God > serve the church > give financially to the church > serve the world by caring for people’s physical needs and spiritual needs by participating in the i2 process so that they can effectively invest in people with love and invite them to know Christ and help people: know Jesus Christ > be baptized > join our local church...
It’s a process that Jesus demands we be a part of as His people.