Marty Nickel made a great comment on the last blog about being missional that is worth quoting in full. He says, "This is a great post Felicity and really focuses on our failing. You
nailed it with your quotes: 'Apostolic teaching is the teaching to go.'
and 'All the commands of Jesus lead to the fulfillment of the Great
Pastoral teaching, by contrast, is to stay and focus on spiritual
growth so "some day" a believer will actually be able to do some
undefined thing in the church.
The fruit of the Spirit *is* a changed life, but fruit isn't intended
for the other trees in the grove. The seed is in the fruit (Genesis
1:11)! It isn't an end to itself but is the means of propagating the
gospel. We've been coring our apples – delivering fruit with no seed –
because we don't understand Kingdom agriculture."
I would like to emphasize two things that Marty says here.
- Fruit has a purpose, and ultimately that is to bear more fruit. If all we do is become more mature believers, that doesn't produce more fruit, it just makes us bigger, (or maybe more tasty) fruit. Disciples are meant to bear fruit. (John 15:1-8) Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed. (Robert H Schuller)
- One of the "deadly sins" of church planting, according to David Garrison in his book, "Church Planting Movements" is that of sequentialism. We think we need to become mature first, and then we can go out and evangelize. If we wait until we are ready before we reach out to others, it will never happen. Jesus said, "You say there are still four months until harvest, but I say the harvest is ready now."
Some teach that Jesus was only speaking to the disciples when he gave the Great Commission, that we need some kind of special calling before we share our faith with others. The New Testament does not bear this out. For example, in Acts 8, all the believers except the apostles were scattered because of persecution, and those who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.
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One reply on “Being Missional and Apples”
This reminds me of two discussions I had in South Asia a few years ago.
Some church planters were telling a few of us from the States that they
routinely trained young believers to heal the sick and cast out demons,
to lead folks to Christ and start house churches. This is normal practice
in many places.
I was talking to another trainer there, who brought three young men to talk with me.
One had recently started his first house church when he was 6 months old in the Lord, another after 8 months in the Lord, and the third had just started his second house church at age 10 months old in Christ. These three had been trained hands-on to do the stuff,
and that conversation speaks to me to this day.