Had some interesting discussions with my kids on the school run this week…
1. On Tuesday I asked my children what they say to people who ask them “Where do you go to Church?”
We all know the theory that church is not the building it’s the people but it was interesting to hear the thoughts of our kids. For them it’s fairly clear that we are on a mission with Jesus and with others in our Jesus family. Some of our Jesus family live locally, some further afield. It reminded me that the challenge of multiplying disciples, churches and leaders (which is one area of the Kingdom work that needs to be spread!) is not just about where we meet or what we do. It is fundamentally something more that involves dying, shifting and rebuilding. Do you dare to be a disciple?
2. On Friday we talked about why we weren’t seeing lots of churches and Jesus groups starting in our area?
Our kids were talking about their reading targets at school. I talked with them about our “mission target” of starting Jesus groups that spread and multiply. After we listened to Jesus for a bit we came to the conclusion that rather than to dwell on what is not happening – let’s encourage each other to keep building towards the things that God has shown us! It’s rather easy for the things that God shows us to become an unreachable target. When really that’s why He’s shown it to us – because it needs building. So like Noah let’s continue to build according to the plans God has given us…
If you’re anything like me then it’s sometimes easy to feel like we’re making one step forward and then two steps back. So I wanted to share a small victory that we are celebrating. We’d love to hear your small victories!
Through sharing the good news of Jesus with people around our county we have found some folk who want to know more about Jesus and who are open to sharing this good news with others they know. We call them “people of peace” – people who receive the Gospel not only into their own lives but also into the lives of their “oikos” or family/household/community. Hear Neil Cole talking about people of peace here
One person of peace we’ve found has had a history of addictions and substance abuse. In recent months though we have seen him getting his life back on track. He’s got a place to live and now has a fridge and a cooker to go with the sofa we carried through the town for him the other week! This last week he even cooked us some food…
We baptised him in his bath a month or so ago and have been helping him to hear what Jesus is saying to Him, what He needs to do in order to be obedient to this and who else he can share Jesus with.
His girlfriend is now also meeting with us and someone else turned up last week.
There’s still work to do but we’re thanking Jesus for how He is transforming the lives of those we are working with…
So I was in a Somerset town the other day…prayer walking…thinking…reading…spying out the land
I read through 1 Corinthians and was reminded of some things about God’s Kingdom…
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness,holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1)
It’s not the religiously healthy people that Jesus came for it was the notorious sinners who knew they were sick. When I think about our fellow workers in this area of the UK and the people who are starting to follow Jesus in “simple churches” the words above encourage me!
God uses weak, simple and foolish things to grow His Kingdom…
Weak People – God doesn’t use experts or those who know what they’re doing. Otherwise people would think that human effort and ‘clever-ness’ is that counts. God uses people who desperately seek Him and realise they are nothing without Him. Even Jesus said that He could do nothing of Himself but only did what He saw the Father doing. Why do we think that we know better?
Simple Methods – God loves simple methods of discipleship and community because it means that anyone can do it! If God’s heart is longing to see people from every tribe and tongue reached with the Gospel of His Kingdom then I think putting simple methods and patterns into the hands of ordinary untrained disciples is the way to go…After all that’s what Jesus did isn’t it?
Foolish Message– The Gospel of the Kingdom is a foolish message to those who are perishing but it is absolutely amazing news to those being saved! In our attempts to “dress up” the Gospel let’s not forget that people who think they’re healthy won’t want to hear about a doctor! In our experience sharing the simple message of the Gospel and asking “Do you want to know more about Jesus” has been very fruitful!
Are you weak? Are you using simple methods? Are you foolish in sharing the Gospel?
We’ve been ploughing the ground and scattering the good seed on the land (as the good old song says!) God has led us to concentrate our efforts on certain people groups and places and we have ‘found’ people of peace who are looking to gather their friends and family in Simple Churches/Groups. We’ve also been working with other disciples to help them form simple/missional groups with their friends and family.
Today I travelled to a nearby town on the bus and we found a man called Tom who wants to know about Jesus and is looking to gather others in his house (you can read more about that here)
There’s now a few of us who share this Kingdom vision for our region so we are learning about ‘team’, how real maturity is to love one another despite our differences and to draw on each other’s strengths. We’re also working through how to see the groups we’ve started around people of peace become healthier and stronger
At the Newforms Level 1 Training we were reminded about the ‘Kingdom Vision’. Father God wants His Kingdom to spread to the ends of the earth like yeast in a batch of dough. If multiplication is not factored into everything we are doing then will we accomplish the Father’s will? Click here to watch Neil Cole talking about the necessity of multiplication…