The key skill to making disciples and planting churches is an ability to recognize God’s voice. Do we know when he is speaking to us? Can we distinguish his voice from our own thoughts? Many of us have learnt how to do this on an individual basis, but how many churches put into practice the fact that “we have the mind of Christ”? Together we can hear his plans and directions for us. Is Jesus the one who leads your church? The church that meets in our home is in a transitional phase. We have become a very close-knit group over the time we have met together. We are now fairly sure that the Lord is leading us to multiply out into various different groups with an emphasis on reaching out to those who do not yet know him. So last Friday, when we came together, we set aside part of our time together to listen to him about the future of our church. God spoke clearly. Each of us spent time on our own listening to Jesus and asking him the question, “Jesus, what is your vision and plan for us as your body?” When we came back, some had pictures,others had a series of words, there was a clear passage of Scripture. And there was a common theme. Although we need to spend more time weighing what the Lord said to us, the general sense was very clear. We will need to ask the Lord more questions about how to put into practice what he has told us to do, but “we have the mind of Christ.”
If you want to become proficient at a skill, the answer lies in practice.
Photo credit: Morrow Cove (Creative Commons)
Musicians rehearse, athletes practice, anyone who wants to become proficient at a skill puts in hours per day. They perform the same drill over and over again until it has become perfectly natural. I’m sure my patients were very grateful that I had spent hours practicing how to tie a surgical knot with one hand before I stitched any of them up. Malcolm Gladwell in his brilliant book, Outliers: The Story of Success, says that greatness in any skill requires enormous amounts of time, and applies what he calls, the 10,000 hour rule.
Now obviously, we aren’t talking super-complicated skills when it comes to making disciples. But why do we assume that just telling someone how to to something, whether it’s leading someone to the Lord, prophesying or listening to God, enables them to be proficient at it?
My good friend, Katie Driver, a House2House coach, recently completed her degree. The secular university taught her the following statistics:
Adults retain 5% of what they hear in a lecture
10% of what they read
50% of what they see demonstrated
75% of what they practice
90% of what they teach
It’s much, much better if people practice their spiritual skills with someone else before they try to take it outside their church (whether that is simple/organic or legacy) context into the secular world. It then becomes something natural, a useful tool in their hands. They are equipped to minister (Ephesians 4:11, 12).
Suggested application: Pick one skill–telling your story
making a disciple (leading someone to Christ)
listening to the Lord
praying for the sick
In your small group, have everyone practice that skill several times and challenge them to use it during the week, preferably with a not-yet-believer. I’ll have a story for you in the next post of how that has worked out for me in the last two weeks.
The first part of this story can be found here.
It only took about three weeks before the group stopped referring to their New Age books and accepted the Bible as their authority.
On week 6, we arrived at John 1:12.
To as many as received him he gave power to become sons of God.
We spent around 45 minutes each week in the Word, so this tells you how deep our discussions were going. We never answered their questions, but allowed them to discover for themselves through the Word. They had found by this time that the Word, light and life referred to Jesus.
"What does it mean to receive Jesus?" someone asked.
There was some general discussion, and then a single mom said:
"I think to receive him means to commit to him." Again some discussion; we strongly agreed with this opinion.
Instead of our usual praying together, that week we suggested they all go to different parts of the house to "commit to Jesus."
When they returned, they had obviously all had some kind of encounter with Jesus. Some were crying, they were hugging and laughing. It was then we could say that a church was born.
Photo credit: Justin Masterson (Creative Commons)
According to the research, millions of people in the United States find their primary place of worship outside the four walls of the institutional building. According to George Barna, this figure depends on how you ask the question, but somewhere between 4 and 12 million people are currently involved. (These groups are specifically not affiliated with any traditional church–ie, they are not the home groups of a larger church.) Whichever figure you pick, the numbers are extraordinary and are backed up by other researchers such as the Pew Forum and Ed Stetzer.
My question is, "What are they doing?"
I suspect that many of them are doing what are friend John White likes to call, "Honey, I shrunk the church!"
They have taken what they have known within the legacy church and just shrunk it down to fit within the four walls of their living room. They have exchanged the steeple for a chimmey and the pew for a sofa.
Someone has been asked to lead the worship; someone else prepares a talk. Another person is responsible for the kids. There is as much of a program as there was within the traditional church they left behind.
This series of posts is on how to start a simple/organic church. I'm really not interested in pulling a group of Christians together to do what they've always done but in a smaller context. There is a far bigger paradigm shift here than just moving location–we might just as well stay in our sacred buildings if that's all we do.
No, the paradigm shift here is that Jesus is the one who is in charge when we get together. He's not just a valued guest; he's the MC. Every member of the body is important and every member participates. Not only that, we are on mission with God. He has a plan for us, and we need to listen to what He tells us and respond accordingly.