We have some measurements for the things we put into practice here in our work. Too often, as we search after something revolutionary to reach the world we live in, we implement things that don’t meet these standards and in doing so, we hinder a greater movement. Having studied Church Planting Movements (CPMs) around the world, we have discovered some things present in all of them. Mind you, each of them is distinct, and solely dependent on God and His moving. I’m not saying that God doesn’t figure in, because in the final evaluation, He is the only factor that matters. However, we’ve found that these other elements keep us out of God’s way, and keep us from doing things that lead to weird places. Some of these elements seem no brainers. For instance: urgent, fervent, and frequent prayer are present in the lives of believers where CPMs are happening. We also see a great emphasis on the sharing Jesus with those who don’t know Him. Anyway, I digress from what I sat down to write. Needless to say, there are things we, as His people, should be doing. And, if we’re not careful, we can spend all of our time talking about what we should be doing, studying what others are doing, and even training others to do what they should be doing: and not doing it ourselves. We can advocate the newest ideas and train people in the most effective uses of their time and relationships and remain disobedient to what Jesus modeled for us, and has asked us to do.
We don’t find Jesus giving a training conference with His disciples. He didn’t say, “Come, be trained by me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He said, “Follow me.” And for 3 years, His disciples WATCHED Him do what He did. In John 20, we find Jesus being very clear on what He expects from His disciples, “As my Father has sent me, even so send I you.” Do what He did. Go as He went. He kept it simple and easily reproducible.
Similarly, we read about Paul, and get a glimpse into his training program: go with me and let’s do this! If we boil down what Paul modeled for people like Timothy, Luke, Barnabas, Mark, Silas, etc. we see him share his story, share Jesus, baptize those who believe AND those they bring to faith. We don’t see him extract people for further training. We don’t see him having people read more “how to” books. Share, share, baptize, send. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s how it should be. He kept it simple and easily reproducible.
I’m challenged this morning to simply ask the question, both of myself and of you, are you being obedient in this simple pattern of obedience? Are you loving God, loving others, and making disciples? If your answer is “No,” the next question is “Why not?” Here’s five simple & easy things you can do in the next week to change that answer to “Yes.”
1) Make a list of people you know who are far from God and pray for that list.
2) Write your story and practice sharing it in 2 minutes: My life before Jesus/How I met Jesus/My life since Jesus. Share it with someone who can help you make it easily understood by people who don’t speak Christianese.
3) Divide your list into groups of 5, and share your story with the first 5 on your list THIS WEEK.
4) With those that are interested in knowing more, share God’s plan to save them through Jesus.
5) With those that decide that want to follow Jesus, help them make their list, write their story, practice with them, and send them out to share. Or, as Johnson & Johnson have often wrote, “Lather, rinse, repeat.”
IT’S SIMPLE! And, honestly, it’s a matter of obedience. So the one simple question to answer is: Will you be obedient? To quote Elwood Blues, “We’re on a mission from God.” Well, at least we should be.