If you want your group to be outward looking, the list is a powerful tool.
In CMA's Life Transformation Groups, each person makes a list of three to four people who are not followers of Jesus that they commit to pray for daily.
In T4T, each person is encouraged to make a list of all the not-yet-believers that they know, and divide them into groups of five. Each week, they pick a group and having prayed for them, try to tell their story to each person.
Do you have a list of people you know who are either not-yet-believers or who are not walking closely with the Lord?
It's easier to think through the people you know by looking at your circles of influence:
- The people closest to you: your family and closest friends. They don't have to live near you, but maybe you are in email contact with them. This week I offered to pray for a niece who isn't a believer and prayed for her via a facebook message.
- People from work: who do you know from work who is not following the Lord? The company president? The person who cleans the building? Your colleagues?
- Social acquaintances–people whose names you know and who know your name. Parents of those on your kid's basketball team? People in your neighborhood?
- Casual contacts, people you recognize but don't know their names. Your mailman, the girl behind the counter of the coffee shop where you get your morning caffeine fix.
Practical application: Have the people in your group spend 15 minutes creating a list of all the people they know who are not following Jesus. Suggest they commit to praying for them and if possible, telling them their story.
While I was in the UK two weeks ago, a not-yet-Christian came to the church that meets in our home. She is friends with some of the students who attend regularly. Apparently it was a very ordinary time. But at the end she was asked, "Would you like to give your life to Jesus?"
"Yes," was her reply.
She very simply surrendered her life to Jesus, and was overcome with the peace and joy that only the Lord can give. Tony suggested that the students baptize her in their group that meets at the university.
Yesterday I heard the other half of the story.
I was at a Greenhouse, and met the student minister from one of the local churches. He shared that one of the students from his group had spent much of that day sharing about the Lord with this girl before she gave her heart to Jesus. Not only that, two of her friends had subsequently become Christians within his student ministry.
We rejoiced together at what the Lord is doing. We especially rejoiced at the fact that God's Kingdom is more important than either of our groups–that God is the one to get all the glory.
There are actually four groups involved in what went on.
- Student CPX, who trained some of the students who come to the church that meets in our home. These students have started
- a simple/organic church that is multiplying at a local university
- The local cell church with a student ministry
- The church that meets in our home
It reminds me of a passage in 1 Corinthians:
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. (I Corinthians 3:6-9)
What might happen if we build the Lord's house (the Kingdom) in preference to our own luxurious homes (our own churches) (Haggai 1)? What might happen in our cities if nobody minds who gets the credit? What might happen if a nameless, faceless generation allows God to get all the glory?
Maybe, just maybe, we would see the move of God we all long for.