Last year I was convicted by God to sit down and develop a discipleship plan for the people of RE.THINK.
After researching and praying, I am confident about this plan. In the next few emails, I'd love to share the 6 questions each follower of Jesus should answer.
Our goal at RE.THINK Church to help people follow Jesus. Following Jesus is how we experience the best life possible. Following Jesus implies movement and action, not passive observation.
The first of these questions deal with Scripture. The Bible is a collection of books, letters, poems, genres of literature. It is God-inspired and authoritative. The Bible is one united narrative the points to Jesus.
Here's the first question we should work through on our own. How will I learn God's word?
Knowledge should lead to transformation.
The method we encourage people to use when reading the Bible is the SOAP method. Scripture Observation Application and Prayer. I hope that we each sit down and develop a plan to learn God's word in 2020. We will experience Jesus in life-giving ways.
The second question we should work through is: How will I fuel my affections for Jesus?
I said 'Yes' to Heather over 17 years ago. I find myself more in love with her today than I was in college when we're dating. When she walks in the room, I suck in my gut, my attention and focus is on her. We recently took a trip to spend time together. That was the goal. We just wanted to be with each other. I had no agenda; I had no plans other than to be with her.
Life happens to us all, doesn't it? It's so easy to get busy and lose focus on the crucial things in life. If we aren't careful, we'll become part of the machine of life and forget Jesus. He'll become a side portion of our life, but not our foundation.
We were created to worship Jesus. Worship is a Biblical word that means to assign worth to. Another explanation of worship is our enjoyment of God.
Our aim isn't to gain more knowledge about Jesus, it should be to love Jesus more.
How will I worship? Will you worship as Jesus did? Jesus sabbathed, and in practicing the Sabbath, He worshiped the Father.
Do we see our work as worship? God has assigned you to that job to that company or organization as His ambassador. How you perform your job responsibilities is an act of worship.
Do you see your generosity as an act of worship? Some of us might tithe, meaning we give 10% of our income to RE.THINK. That is an act of worship. Do we see our tithing as an act of worship?
Each Sunday (except) the last Sunday of each year, we gather together at 10:30. This gathering isn't just to go through the motions. It's to declare our WANT for Jesus.
Declaring our WANT for Jesus fuels our affections of Jesus.
Now the temptation you find in "Churchianity" is staying here. Jesus and his early followers don't line up with 'Churchianity.' They understood the importance of the next question: Who will I disciple?
The purpose of the first followers of Jesus wasn't to get people to sit in a church pew. The purpose of the followers of Jesus was to model what Jesus did over and over again.
Jesus spent time with His Father. He was constantly getting away from people to connect with His Father. We can describe that movement as UP. He then would spend time with His disciples. He found a community that he could belong in. He connected with these 12 disciples, they experienced life together. They ate meals together, prayed together, walked the land together. We could describe this movement as IN. Jesus and his disciples then would go out and meet crowds. These crowds didn't know the Kingdom of Heaven yet. They didn't know Jesus as the Messiah. Some of the people in these crowds were blind, sick, crippled, even dead. After they encountered Jesus, they walked away from the crowd changed. We can describe this movement as OUT.
Passionate spirituality leads to an authentic relationship in a community. A community of believers should serve others who are outside the community. We could use Mark 9 as an example of this. Jesus spends time UP on the mountain connecting with His Father. He then comes down from that mountain and spends time with the community of disciples. Jesus and His disciples serve those outside the community.
Answering the following questions might help you work through this issue:
-Who doesn't know Jesus in my life?
-How will I partner with God to spread the gospel?
-When will I create time to share the gospel with them? A simple way to do this is to follow the BLESS rhythm. Begin with prayer. Listen. Don't talk, just listen to their story of pain, transitions, joy, celebration. Mourn with those who mourn, celebrate with those who celebrate! Eat. We have 21 opportunities to turn a normal meal into a divine appointment to bless someone. Serve them. After listening to a person, God will reveal to you how to best serve them. Story. Tell your story of following Jesus.
People who grew up in 'Churchianity' will always ask why. Why should we make disciples? Here's the simple answer, someone shared the gospel with me. Besides, it's the last thing Jesus told his disciples to do before ascending to Heaven 2,000 years ago. Jesus saved me from sin and death with a purpose. I hope we never become so arrogant that we don't share Jesus with others.
4. How will I show God's love in my local Church?
I'm not ignorant to the fact that the best sermons and worship songs are a few clicks away. It could be easier to stay at home and consume sermons. I believe that online content is a great starting point for most people. In fact, most of the people of RE.THINK checked us out online before stepping in our doors.
We are creating a movement that blesses Merrillville for generations to come. That vision is more significant than online content. That's why we served our community before we held services. While online content is great, it doesn't replace the mission that Jesus has sent us on.
As we bless Merrillville, we will continue to make disciples of Jesus. Here are a few questions to work through:
-Is R|C the Church you can join to make disciples?
-Will I join the mission and submit to the authority of the leadership of R|C?
-What role will I play in making disciples?
It's impossible to make disciples outside the relationship with a local church. Not to be clear, 'church' doesn't have to look like what we are used to in 2020 in North America.
One of the most fascinating aspects of following Jesus is that we are part of a family. Our family goes beyond racial barriers, nationality barriers. This question we need to work through is: How will I spread God's glory among all the nations and people of the world?
I grew up thinking that missionaries were kind of navy seals. Only the elite could live like this. I believed that my role was to work a regular job and send the elite Christians money so they could live like this. Then I read the Bible. I saw a man who studied the Bible, made tents like a normal person, tell others about Jesus. I saw fishermen follow Jesus and then tell others about Jesus. Jesus specializes in using ordinary men and women to do extraordinary accomplishments.
Jesus is creating a generation of priests who will represent Jesus to the nations on this earth. According to Paul (2 Corinthians 5), we are Christ's ambassadors on this earth.
We should work through the following questions:
As an organization RE.THINK wants to help you live generously. The Bible describes two significant categories of giving. A tithe (meant for a local church like RE.THINK) and offerings are above and beyond our tithes.
RE.THINK Church wouldn't exist without Christians around the world giving offerings. There are a few topics to keep in mind when discussing offerings.
We can give to provide the physical needs of brothers and sisters around the world. Kind of like buying coffee from HOPE Coffee or Destiny Rescue to free victims of sex trafficking.
We can also give to provide the spiritual needs of non-Christians around the world. The purpose of giving like this is to provide an opportunity to encounter Jesus. For example, what other believers gave toward the mission of RE.THINK Church.
We also need to work through the issue of going. We need to pray about going on a short-term mission trip for a week or so. After going on a short term missions trip, we could consider going on a midterm trip for 6 months to a year. Some of us might have a call for long term missions as well like 18 months and beyond.
The harsh reality national borders might close to 'Christians.' They will open for business leaders. While I worked at Denso Manufacturing, I saw this in action. We had plants in Indonesia, India, China, Myanmar. I would meet virtually with associates from these plants weekly. I met in person with them as we collaborated on a project in our Michigan plant. I was talking with a guy from Indonesia (where it's illegal to be a Christian) about our faith. He is also a Christian and was blown away at how easy it is to follow Jesus here in America. The original plan was for me to travel to his plant in Indonesia to complete the project. I transitioned to another job within that company before that took place. Business leaders could travel to other countries as engineers, teachers, bankers. While doing their job to be Christ's ambassadors in those countries.
The question we need to answer honestly is this, does God have a blank check with my life? Can God do anything and everything with my life that He wants to.
The last question we need to work through is how I will make disciple-makers among a few?
Jesus' strategy is fascinating to me. He gathers crowds of several thousand. He then invests and trains up a group of 72 disciples. He spends most of this time with a smaller group we refer to as the 12 apostles. Did you know that Jesus played favorites too? If we look at Mark 9 again, we can see that Jesus took 3 disciples up to this mountain top. Imagine the tension between Andrew and his brother Peter. Peter was invited to go with Jesus, but Andrew wasn't.
While you might not be able to make disciples among multitudes, could you disciple a few? As Andy Stanley says, "do for a few what you wish you could do for everyone."
This isn't meant to a complete picture of our strategy of making disciples, but it's a launching point. We want to help you follow Jesus and experience the joy He has for each of us.
WHy a blog?
RE.THINK Church values being a church that is casual. Casual Church goes far beyond the way we dress, it's more about we expect people to take this journey at their own pace. We are here to journey with everyone. So we've created a blog so people can check us out before they show up for a service.