An Army of Ordinary People

Which is more effective in the long term? A highly skilled evangelist (think Billy Graham or a gifted pastor) or An Army of Ordinary People sharing the good news of Jesus everywhere they go?  Much as I appreciate and value evangelists, I believe equipping people to do the work of an evangelist (which, according to Ephesians 4:11-12 is what an evangelist should do) will have a greater impact.

In my experience, while it obviously needs the work of the Holy Spirit, there are three main contexts in which a person is likely to become a follower of Jesus:

  1. When Jesus meets them at their point of need–eg after prayer for healing, or for finance etc. (Luke 10:9)
  2. In response to our story and the story of Jesus (Acts 26)
  3. As they explore the word of God is a participatory (Discovery) Bible study. This is the context in which we’ve seen whole groups find Jesus. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Therefore, there are some skills we need to acquire:

  1. How to pray in faith–which means taking risks
  2. How to tell our story in a way that is neither religious nor self-righteous (nor full of Christianese) and then bridge into the story of Jesus
  3. How to introduce people to and lead them in a participatory Bible study

All of this can be simple enough that a new disciple can train others too.

What do you think?

Iwo Jima

10 thoughts on “An Army of Ordinary People”

  1. love the blog post, very to the point. we are called to share Jesus with the world and it is not complicated….. it’s simple….. just not easy.. Thanks for the post

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  2. Can’t disagree with that! I’d suggest adding 4. The ability and willingness to live in a simple way that portrays God’s kingdom and his grace, and so recommends the gospel to non-believers. Can’t say I’m there yet!! 😦

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  3. I like this and agree! However, recently the Holy Spirit drew me to Nehemiah in regards to a situation in which I am involved. He pointed out these things: 1) The folks in Jerusalem had apparently grown used to seeing Jerusalem’s broken walls and doors, and the burned and damaged bricks. Even though the city lacked protection from the enemies, there was no concerted effort to repair the walls. (2) When Nehemiah came, however–as commissioned and sent by God–he challenged and led the people into a great work force. The Bible says that the people “had a mind to work”, but they needed a leader who had VISION and A PLAN to rectify the situation. Together the restoration was accomplished in 52 days under his leadership and direction!!! (Neh. 6:15) It’s essential to recognize what era we are living in and how we can best cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s Kingdom Advance for this time. Leadership must have this understanding–as well as the people. But, God’s purposes will not be accomplished without leadership vision, nor without people who “have a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6)

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    1. I agree–mostly. We need leaders who will equip the saints. In our experience, though, the leaders need to equip the people for the vision God has given them (the people, not the leaders). Now will there be an overall vision? Of course, but again, in our experience, the Lord gives the vision to the body. Example: at the moment, we are training a group of people from the church that meets in our home. Four couples, and all of them the Lord is leading to start something new, working primarily with not-yet-believers. (One couple has a vision to continue working with those who’ve already found the Lord.) The vision came about because as a group, we waited on the Lord asking him what he wants the next steps for our church to be. Without exception, we all had the same vision (words, Scriptures etc) from the Holy Spirit.

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  4. What do I think? Here is a different idea of True, High Discipleship… way above church “equipping.” Why? Because God needs major-developed characters in folk, so He can trust them in all circumstances and at all times. Milk-churchianity is bereft of the high teachings this requires…

    Seven Times Seventy… (In That Day!)

    By Robert Winkler Burke
    Book #11 of In That Day Teachings
    1/08/15 http://www.inthatdayteachings.com

    (“Usa uvam vivendo varia fit.” – This Latin phrase appears on the Hat Creek Cattle Company sign in the “Lonesome Dove” 1989 TV miniseries. Written by Captain Gus McCrae, it loosely translates as “A grape matures in the presence of another mature grape.” It is high-stakes discipleship at high stake’s end, not church discipleship — rwb.)

    (Of course, this poem involves poetic license, its author abhors violence, all is spiritual.)

    (Hat tip: The 1954 Seven Samurai, the 1960 The Magnificent Seven, 1977 Star Wars.)

    Seven loud knocks heard on my door,
    Seven wanted more, a whole lot more,
    So much more than baby milk in store,
    Church had made them out a bad whore,
    But they said to Babylon, No more! No more!
    Seven young wives these seven young men adore,
    Said, All right then, go to hell and see that prophet of lore.

    We are seven youth pastors, seminary rigid-Evangelically, so,
    We see, each in our churches, seven senior pastor disasters, so,
    Our wives, we adore, said we shouldn’t that path go much after, so,
    The seven of us drove, train’d and plane’d faster to get to Reno now, so,
    Our seven door knocks! We come fully prepared as men, to you, Master, so,
    As Christ-Jedi-Padawan wannabe’s… don’t mock our uncomfortable laughter, so,
    Will you say yes to us, to fix our seminary-churchianity wrong camber-caster… so?

    I said, Get in my 2005 diesel Ford Excursion truck,
    And we will have a real adventure with God’s good luck!
    We went to an inner city crux where folks with mighty fine pluck,
    Robbed us of our cell phones, watches, wallets, pants, shirts, bucks,
    Naked, except for our underwear, the seven souls said to me, This sucks!
    You’ll have to call your wives for more pants and shirts and iPhones and bucks!
    Here’s your hotel, stick with me, first casualty: ego! Sleep well, Padawans in flux!

    A few days later, I loaded my Excursion with sticks and guns,
    Then, for the next six months we alternated with various funs,
    First, they absorbed Russian Martial Art Systema, bruised up tons!
    Then they learned on the range, to be pistol’n, shotgun’n, rifle’n sons,
    Until they were somewhat better at wary defending as young Padawans,
    And I said, Well, it’s time to test our conjecture with reality’s scores and sums,
    Can you stay thoroughly kind of heart, when you’re about to be smashed by Huns?

    Back in the Excursion, but unarmed, we went,
    To that same, rather odorous, rotten, inner city bent,
    Where seven thugs wanted all ours… permanently lent!
    But my seven kindly overcame them, laying ‘em on pavement!
    My seven put their feet on their necks, each man as a perfect gent,
    What do we do now, Master Yoda? You are to us, most heaven sent!
    Let them run away, Padawans. Love, it’s love and mercy that pays rent.

    Next, I got some Extreme Muslims mad at me, their prophet I dissed,
    And my Padawans came in to clean my guns, like fishermen who fished,
    Guns all apart, seven black-hooded, A.K’d Jihadists burst in like Thor’s fist!
    Quick, I dove under the table and said, Boys! In war there’s always a fog mist!
    I lay there on my stomach, both hands in prayer, seven names on my prayer list,
    And my seven men assembled the guns as the manufacturers would have wished,
    And after seven lunatic Jihadists were no more, then… seven Jedi’s heads I kissed.

    But don’t you know, I had seven times seventy problems after that!
    Seven wives were mad at me, painting me with an evil man, black hat,
    Seven wives pulling rank, said, Obey us, immediately leave that bad cat!
    And the seven sheepishly said, Yes ma’am! In less time than nothing flat,
    I sent seven wives seven training knives for their sons whose dads trained at,
    The High Things of God, in Reno, with me, beyond milk… where God’s at bat!
    And wives relented, and had faith in Living Master learning, after having a chat.

    The seven wives said, What’s happening we don’t precisely know,
    But we trust God that higher than con-sheep church is a much better go,
    Our husbands could train our sons, and learn master love and love’s woe,
    Why does it take so long? Why is this steak-discipleship so excruciating slow?
    Without the Highest Teachings we’d probably all be, you know, in divorce row,
    But our husbands are getting Christ-in-You’s weird and inexplicable golden glow!
    An alluringly dangerous… confusing… conflicting…a wife-disempowering show?

    Next, I sent the seven men home to their old church jobs to stumble about,
    They said to their boss pastors, We’ve got it! High Teachings! Let’s shout!
    But their head pastors played Whack-a-Mole. It was a thoroughly cruel rout,
    Seven wives disappointed, said, Well, then, that proves it. Your leader’s a lout!
    Seven divorce-minded wives with restraining orders, kicked their husbands out,
    Seven sad souls returned to me in Reno, tails between legs, their red faces a pout,
    Congrats! Rejoice! Dance a lively jig! Christ-in-You, you have! Without a doubt!

    Seven questioning faces. And believe me, it took a while for it to dawn on them,
    The more you have Christ-in-You returned suddenly, others believe it worst sin,
    It’s happened to every saint in the bible, and will continue until times’ great end,
    And strangest thing, the first path is a churchy-Darth Vaderish unavoidable blend,
    Until volunteering for a darn Yoda to beat out religious pride into soul’s dust bin,
    Only then, only when religious pride gets out (Job did via Elihu) and humility in,
    Then Christ-in-You, and cornucopia of advanced problems, Behold! Lives within.

    What happened to the seven? Each started a new/old creative operation,
    They did not sell Christ-in-You, as a vaudeville church-pimped sensation,
    They waited, and Systema-trained seventy folk who gave up man’s ovation,
    And thru tests and trials, introduced Padawans to the Christ-in-You creation,
    And Natural Law’s wariness and God’s Nature and Civic-Western Law station,
    Seven times seventy times infinity…a hidden to milk eyes Christ-in-You nation,
    Whadda ya know! It finally came to Earth! In That Day Dénouement Restoration!

    And now, dear reader, how about you?
    Now that you know this, what will you do?
    Can In That Day Teachings poems really God-imbue?
    How much isn’t in lie (no Christ-in-You!) how much IS in true?
    God’s line-on-line pedagogy? versus Known line-on-line milk-rot rue?
    In That Day Teachings’ thousand points of light! (Not 3-pointless points) Hallelu!
    With eyes to see, behold and bless those who so come! Christ-in-You! Who knew?

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  5. I agree with you! We often think of the Apostles as great people. However, when we read what they say about themselves, we discover that they were very humble ordinary people, or in the case of Paul, the chief sinner, whom God used to do extraordinary things. Today, we see the extraordinary things they did and label them as extraordinary people. God still uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. If every believer took the harvest call seriously, all nations could be reached with a witness of the Gospel in just a few years! We don’t have enough pastors and missionaries or the ability to train enough of them to reach the world – ever, due to population growth. But we do have enough believers to do the job!

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  6. Felicity,

    It is great to hear from you. We are seeing thousands of ordinary people in places like India, Africa, and Central America plant rabbit churches, a term we attribute to you. Your books have been an inspiration to our ministry.

    Blessings to you!
    Terry Neu
    Director of Mobilization – Final Command Ministries

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