Journeying With Jesus

The Adventure of Faith

Access Ministry: Our Attitude

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go and make disciples of all nations… (Matt 28:19)

Before He ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father, Jesus gave a charge to His followers to go and make disciples of all nations and peoples. He was initially speaking to a band of Hebrew followers who would eventually travel to the furthest reaches of the world, cross geographic, ethnic, linguistic  and cultural barriers in order to disciple others to know, love, and follow Jesus.  That same charge and challenges hold for us today as we seek to disciple people to know, love, and obey Jesus as they are transformed into His image and do the things that Jesus did.

In Disciple-Making Movements (DMM) one of the first steps, after establishing an ongoing prayer lifestyle, is to gain access into a group or community in which you are a perceived outsider. Going from an outsider to become either an insider or accepted outsider is a big transition. In this first blog on the topic I want to address the attitude of the Jesus’ followers in gaining access. I want to share five key attitudes and perspectives that are important.

#1. We Come to Bless and Serve Others.

When Jesus sent out the 72 he told them when they entered a house, to “first say, ‘Peace to this house’” (Luke 10:5). Our attitude is not to be takers but givers (Matt 10:8). Like Jesus, we are to be “among them as one who serves” (Luke 22:27).

Believe it or not, that takes all the pressure off!  We don’t come to a group of people as someone who comes to take or use them. There is no shame in our mission. We come for their benefit. We want to bless them. Our desire is to leave their lives richer, fuller, more blessed because of our relationship with them. If a group rejects us, then we graciously walk way and bless them anyway.

#2. We Come with Jesus’ Perspective Concerning the Group We Seek Access

We want to see people the way Jesus sees them. That means we approach all people and see them with great dignity and worth.  We don’t rely on what we perceive in the natural. We need to see people with Jesus’ eyes realizing that He willingly died for each and every one.

That means people we encounter might be very course, rude, hostile, immoral, outrageous, and opposed to all of our values. How does Jesus see them? Like the city of Jerusalem, He longs for them like a mother hen, to bring them under His wings. He knows that regardless of what appears on the outside, they have been made for glory. Each person has a destiny for which s/he have been designed and the Lord desires that they be freed up to walk in that destiny.

If we find people repugnant, our judgment will be discernible by them. It will be easy for them to sense our critical spirit and feel like we are bringing “religion” instead of a relationship with Jesus. If we struggle in this area, an extra measure of prayer before the Lord is warranted until we find God’s love bursting forth from our hearts to any people group.

#3. We Come to Listen, Pray, Observe, and Discern their Key Needs

One of the greatest gifts we can offer people is to listen and watch. Too often we jump in with our opinions without opening our hearts to receive and perceive others. The gift of listening is one of the greatest gifts we offer people.

As we listen, perceive, and pray, the Lord begins to reveal keys into the issues in people’s lives. Insights are given as to core needs that people have.  If we are truly coming to serve and bless, we need to understand what those needs might be. Those needs are most often the keys that open doors and bring access into a community.

#4 We Come to Demonstrate the Love of God in a Practical Fashion

Blessing and serving most often takes the shape of practical action. It can include feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, healing the sick, setting people free from the demonic, restoring broken relationships, and correcting injustices. In other communities or groups it can address peoples’ needs for value, purpose, or community. In still other communities it might take the form of providing education and training. Ways to practically demonstrate God’s love are limitless. As we pray and are open to the Holy Spirit, let Him speak and reveal what area of service we might provide.

#5 We Come as Sent Ones Doing the Father’s Work

Followers of Jesus are an apostolic community. As such we have been commissioned and sent by the Father with a task to complete and a message to give. As we seek access into a community that means:

  • We go with the Jesus’ authority. He is King of Kings and Lord and Lords. He is over all the nations of the world. We don’t need anyone else permission to seek entrance into a community that does not yet know Jesus. He has told us to Go and we Go with his authority.
  • We go in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are post Pentecost. The Spirit has come and he is actively involved in the Church to make disciples of all nations. We cannot do this in our own strength but we can depend on the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • We have both a Task and a Message. Our task is to bring the Kingdom and Rule of God everywhere. That means we heal the sick, cast out demons, bring blessing to the marketplace and the nations of the world. We right injustices and manifest His righteousness. We also bring his message of forgiveness and reconciliation to all mankind. People need to know that God was in Jesus reconciling the world to Himself.

Our approach in gaining access to a group of community makes all the difference. In essence we seek to take the same attitude and approach Jesus took when the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). We come humbly, we come lovingly, we come with compassion, we come to serve. 

July 15, 2012 Posted by | House Church | , , , | 2 Comments

Church Planting Movements

The U.S. has been in the forefront of mission work and kingdom building so long that we are not used to looking elsewhere for how best to see God move in the U.S. Yet today, while the church is expanding rapidly in so many places around the globe, in the U.S. we are standing still…at best. When we see how and why the church is growing so rapidly around the world, our natural instinct is to say, “Yea, but can it happen here?”

I believe that response (one of which I too am guilty), has more to do with the radical shift we would have to make here in the U.S. to see a similar movement. We are talking about a radical shift from some old wineskins of which we have grown accustomed, to some new, lighter, more flexible wineskins to hold the new wine God desires to pour out on us.

In his book, Church Planting Movements, David Garrison surveys what God is doing around the world and then comes up with 10 Essentials in Every Church Planting Movement, 10 Factors in Most Church Planting Movements, and the 7 Deadly Sins that would impede movement. For this blog I want to list out the 10 Essentials for people to ponder. How is your church doing in these areas? Do you think this would work in the U.S.? The top 10 are:

1. Extraordinary Prayer

2. Abundant Evangelism

3. Intentional Planting of Reproducing Churches

4. The Authority of God’s Word

5. Local Leadership

6. Lay Leadership

7. House Churches

8. Churches Planting Churches

9. Rapid Reproduction

10. Healthy Churches

Can these things happen here? Mmmmnnn…extraordinary prayer…abundant evangelism…lay leadership…local leadership…house churches…churches planting churches…I say WHY NOT! I have to admit we are not used to a lot of these…but they are right out of the Book of Acts. I think that describes the first century church quite well. I for one, want to see it here.

January 12, 2008 Posted by | House Church | , , | 5 Comments