In case you missed the last few posts, I’ve been simply typing up my notes from a recent conference on the topic of discipleship…
Speaker: MICHAEL FROST
Imagine, you are in an abandoned derelict house – dark, burned, filthy, full of graffiti. Out the dirty window you see the most beautiful sunrise. Your friend next to you can’t see it. What do you do? Describe it to him? Or take him over to the window and try and clean it so he can see it for himself? We see God’s glory only partially – like through a dirty window – but His reign is still full and complete. Our job is to clean the windows in the lives of those who have not yet been set free – revealing God’s wonder.
We are just window cleaners – not church growers. We are raising disciples – not church workers, not excellent leaders…
Matthew 8:18-22 “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.” – (The favorite verse of introverts: Jesus rowing away from the people.)
“Let the dead bury their own dead”
“Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
The Kingdom is more than ‘joy joy joy down in my heart,’ it’s a lot like plowing a field by hand. Grueling sweaty work. The real work of following Christ is not gaining intellectual knowledge. It is work. Work for justice, tell the truth, love the poor, be righteous. We need people who will commit to habits of hard work.
Where is your faith? Are you trusting Jesus for what he can do for you or for who He is? Jesus rebuked the storm and no one drowned. Did they really think He would let the boat He was in sink? When the storm stopped they all looked at him with wonder and said “woooooah…”
I want disciples who are window cleaners, whose hands are calloused from plowing, and whose eyes are wide with wonder and fear of God. How did you grow to be so cynical? How did you lose your wonder?
Unintentional blindness – seeing something but not registering it. What are our guiding principles for developing people no matter the situation/place?
- What was the mandate for the first church? In Genesis 11, Babel… We all want to build buildings, impact the city and world – it’s our natural tendency as humans. How about our church? Is our desire simply to be the best church? Or do we dare to send people to another church because it might fit them better? God told us in Genesis we are supposed to multiply – roaming the earth – free. Our call is freedom. And your disciples? It’s not about how they can fulfill your vision. It’s about how you can help them be free to fulfill God’s vision for them. Ask them about that vision – help them pursue it. Unleash them.
- Genesis 12 – Blessing the earth. When you see a person (Jesus really saw people, looked into their eyes) know people and their story. Affirm their destiny – call out what you see in them, encourage them. Radical generosity is giving of yourself.
- HOME. When you think church, think Home. It’s not about the house; it’s where meaningful relationships and conversations happen. It’s about customization for each child. He plays soccer, she plays piano. It’s about love more than law.
- LGBT community – we can be so focused on the law, we clobber the people with clubs like Romans 1. Law and Love are two absolutes. and they sometimes seem to conflict, but the greatest is love. Think family. Treat them like family. You do whatever it takes for family. Have your convictions, but your primacy is love.
- Wonder and Supernatural. Is the Spirit of God driving the car? Or does your church drive on auto-pilot? Can you imagine a church that was moving, and it was only by the power of God – not the pastors?
- Oneness in the body. You can’t disciple people alone in your church – you need the greater body. John 17. We have to collaborate with other people as if we were family. “I don’t like how they do this or that” Wait! We are talking about His bride! Their theology is different than yours maybe, but she is Jesus’ beautiful bride.
- Allow messiness in your discipleship process. Robert Coleman wrote the best book on discipleship: “The Master Plan of Evangelism” ….8 non-negotiable elements of disciple-making. Even Jesus had Judas. Paul had Demas. Poor, young, bad, they can all make good soil. Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” God sees people differently than we do. He sent an ex-Pharisee to the Gentiles, and a Gentile tax collector to write to the Jews.(?)
Potential means nothing. It equals ZERO. Don’t invest in potential. Invest in simple faith and obedience. Learn to invest in the ones who are obeying Jesus. When they stop obeying, pull back, but check in. Jesus loved everybody, but he heavily invested in only 2 or 3. They were part of a family of 12-15, who were part of a team of 25-75. Teams are good for training, Family is good for intimacy, 2-3 is good for disciple making. We can only have up to 150 close friends – who if we bumped into at a restaurant we would feel okay sitting down and eating with them. It’s okay to work with every size group, but don’t try to make every size group do EVERYthing. No matter the number, ultimately the church quality is decided by the quality of the disciples. You can’t engineer movement. Look for the broken –not the righteous, noble or wise…
3 Associations Jesus Had:
1) With the Father – John 5:19 I only do what the Father does. John 17
2) With Disciples – Friends on mission. It’s what enables you to associate with the world. You are not going to be able to do it by yourself. “I call you friends” – You have to have friends to be on mission.
3) With those worthy to be found – the least and the lost. “Wisdom is proved right by her children.” The fruit of your life… Jesus didn’t get a reputation by doing outreach to people. He got it because He was ALWAYS with them. They weren’t His projects; they were His friends. You don’t sit there and confront your friends all day long. Unless you associate, you will never actually be able to affect their lives? John 5:3 Start Associating.