Thursday is for Discipleship
Everyone is enraptured with Latin these days. No matter where you look in the literature, whether it is church growth, or mission, or church planting, or spiritual formation/discipleship, or evangelism, or preaching, everyone is rediscovering the joys (and obscurities) of Latin. One of the most frequently used Latin phrases today is actually not too obscure and is fairly easy to apprehend because the words are actually the etymological forbearers of our English words–Missio Dei or Mission of God.
Many who use the word today are unfamiliar with their history. I won’t probe that now but if you are interested, link here to Ed Stetzer’s website and you can get a fascinating and helpful discussion. I think the simplest description of the mission of God, the one that all others must include, is that the mission of God is to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). I’ve already used a hundred plus words so let me get the topic:
Helping Your People Embrace the Mission of God: Five Keys
#1 Make Prayer for the Lost a Passion
–It is impossible to pray for very long about specific things in specific people’s lives and not begin to actually care for them. Find ways to get your people praying for and about specific things in non-Christian’s lives. Model it for them. Pray for God’s blessing upon them and that his kindness would lead them to repentance.
–Don’t allow evangelism to devolve to a select few “experts” or “they would fight hell with a squirt gun” types. Proclaiming the good news is the birthright of every child of God and a powerful stimulus to their own spiritual growth and joy. Find ways to train everyone who names the name of Christ in how to proclaim the gospel regularly, appropriately, and sensitively.
–God is building a new family, the family of God. He is creating a new race, defined not be ethnicity, or language, or culture, or geography, but by allegiance to a crucified, dead, buried, risen, living, interceding, and coming to judge the living and the dead Savior. When one member of a family comes to faith, intensify your prayer for all the member of the family. They will be the first ones to see the transformation that takes places in your new brother or sister’s life and that miracle of transformation can be a powerful opportunity to proclaim the gospel.
–God is calling people from every nation, tribe and tongue into his forgiven and forever family that he calls his church. Cultivate a “the gates shall not prevail against us” attitude. God is for us who can be against us. Help your people remember that God wins. Help them to see that they are a team, an army, trying to accomplish the same mission as God.
–Too often, when someone comes to faith, we only celebrate the contribution of the last link in the chain–the person who was there to catch the fruit as it fell. Change that. Look back in the person’s story and find all the other influences and most times you will find that many more believers were a part of the story. Celebrate that and you will get more people looking to be engaged in their sphere of influence in the mission of God–the missio dei.