Towards an integrated faith.
KINGDOM PURPOSES – MENTORING
Discipling is the process of taking someone with little or no faith and helping them become a mature and reproducing Christian. Although the person being discipled could be at any of the stages below, the aim is still to see that person become a discipler as well.
- Ploughing – this is the stage where the discipler is dealing with possible objections to Christianity and is living out their faith before the interested person.
- Sowing – this is the stage where the discipler, as a result of living out an authentic biblical lifestyle, has earned the right to tell the interested person about the person of Jesus.
- Watering – this is the stage where the discipler begins to challenge the interested person about their need to make a commitment, explaining the cost involved and the choices the person needs to make.
- Reaping – this is the stage when the interested person being discipled, makes a commitment to follow Jesus, through repentance and faith in Him, having realised the costs involved.
- Keeping – this is the stage where the discipler lays the foundation in helping the new believer to be grounded in Scripture, applying it to all areas of their life, thus helping them to allow Jesus to be their Lord, and thus becoming less dependent on the discipler.
- Reproducing – this is the stage where the new believer starts the process they have been through with the discipler, discipling another to become a mature and reproducing Christian.
By ‘prayer’, I don’t just mean talking to God during one’s ‘quiet time’. Prayer is more than that; it is all about our personal and corporate worship of, and relationship with, our Creator God.
- Preparation – preparing oneself in coming before God – confession, repentance and waiting on Him.
- Praise – focusing on God, and not oneself, but on His characteristics and personality, simply enjoying His presence.
- Thanksgiving – giving thanks to God for what He has done, is doing and is going to do as well as goodness in His provision.
- Intercession – seeking God’s will to be fulfilled in people, places and events.
- Petition – asking God to draw you closer to Him and deal with personal issues.
- Fasting – spending quality time with God (eg avoiding eating food for a limited period) expecting to see spiritual breakthroughs in people, places and events.
When God created us, He made us desire to be community with others. He also did it in such a way that individually we cannot live a fulfilled life unless we are part of a community. But community means far more than just meeting each other and doing a few things together. As the following shows, such community needs to be in small groups.
- Parity – seeking to achieve an equality of power amongst its members, so that each sees the other as God sees the other.
- Proximity – breaking down barriers which prevent physical access to each other, so that socialising and pastoral care can take place naturally.
- Multiplicity – seeing each other in a variety of settings on a regular basis during the week, thus getting to know the real person.
- Directness – learning to be open with each other in a loving and sensitive way, seeking to help each other grow as a person in all areas of life.
- Commonality – identifying shared interests and areas of life and participating in them, thus deepening the friendships between each other.
- Continuity – spending quality time with each other over a lengthy period of time, as friendships take time to develop.
KINGDOM PURPOSES – MINISTRY
When God made us, He gave us a vocation to follow, ie what our main focus in life is all about. For many, it is not realised properly until they become a Christian, but God would still have been working in you preparing you for that moment of commitment.
- The Workplace – the place where you spend most of your day, whether it be paid or voluntary, seeking to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’.
- The Neighbourhood – the local community where you live, being an active participant in its life, bringing Christian values to the way things are done.
- The Family – the basic cohesive unit of society, you are concerned about one or more issues surrounding it, seeking to help people ‘belong’ – this also includes the ‘church’ family.
- The Ethno-cultural People Group – the importance of seeing whole peoples throughout the whole world embracing the whole teaching and practice of the Kingdom of God.
- The Socio-Economic Group – seeing the need to reach out to disaffected groups in society, seeking to empower them, and show them the love of Jesus in practical ways.
- The Interest Group – you have a passion about an issue or a sport or a hobby to which you could bring Kingdom values.
All of our lives are intertwined, and are affected by all sorts of issues. We need to see them in an integrated way so as to not only make sense of them, but also see ways of bringing change towards Kingdom values, attitudes and practices.
- Pro-life – seeking to uphold life in all situations – abortion, infanticide, war, suicide, euthanasia, capital punishment.
- Active Compassion – showing practical concern for those in need, whether the person concerned lives next door or far away.
- Social Justice – campaigning to bring equality to all peoples of the world in the areas of shelter, clothing, food, education, employment, human rights and responsibilities, and health, treating each person as a whole.
- Reconciliation – bringing people together to listen to each other, repent of wrongdoings, so that they can live, work, and play together.
- Empowerment – helping each other to become responsible citizens who are recognised as such and therefore are given dignity and self-worth, regardless of their beliefs, gender or ability.
- Wise Stewardship – learning to use our physical resources (environment, monetary), human resources (skills, relationships), time, etc wisely so that not only are they put to their optimum use but also are cared for, so that they last.
God made each of us in a unique way, such that there are no two people the same. Though we can be influenced in a number of ways, such as the culture we are in, our family’s values, etc, we need to look at everything through the biblical ‘lens’ to see what is good and what is not of God, so as to make sure we use the tools God has given us to their full potential.
- Spiritual Gifts – those special attributes God gives us through the Holy Spirit to do extraordinary acts.
- Lifeskills – God gives everyone unique skills that can be developed in ways that bring out the best in us, especially when we use them to bring joy to others
- Fruits of the Spirit – the basic qualities that every Christian needs to practice, through dependence on His Spirit, to demonstrate God’s characteristics to others
- Working Style – recognising that each of us is made differently, the same applies to the way we do things, if we are to be at our most effective
- Learning Style – as we need to continue to learn throughout our lives (otherwise we stagnate), God has endowed us with different ways of doing so
- Woridview – whatever we do, we do based on our worldview, which is sourced from many different places, thus making a wonderful mosaic of approaches to life – we need to understand it, check it out against Scripture, amending it where appropriate.
KINGDOM PURPOSES – MISSION
THE MESSAGE – PART ONE
As Christians, we all have a mission in life, and that is to bring people into the Church. As part of that we need to tell people the whole story of Jesus.
- Jesus the Great Teacher – He taught with great authority and passion
- Jesus the Powerful Prophet – He performed many miracles which were signs of what was to come
- Jesus the Messiah – He was the fulfilment of the many prophecies in the Old Testament
- Jesus the Son of David – His royal lineage stretched all the way back to King David
- Jesus the Son of Man – God became human to identify Himself with Man, through a virgin birth
- Jesus the Son of God – Jesus is God’s only son who came to earth to reconcile Man with God through His physical death on the Cross and His bodily resurrection on the third day
THE MESSAGE – PART TWO
As Christians, we all have a mission in life, and that is to bring people into the Kingdom of God. Also part of that is explaining the process of becoming a Christian.
The Call – God calls us back to a relationship with Him, because of His love for us.
The Choice – we are either for Him (the God of love) or against Him (the God of justice).
The Cost – realising that it will not be easy following Jesus Christ, it involves much sacrifice, but the rewards are great.
Believe – accept that Jesus physically died on the Cross and bodily arose from the dead on the third day so as to make it possible for Man to be reconciled with God. This was made possible because God became human and was born sinless through the virgin birth and did no wrong throughout His life here on Earth.
Confess – the need to acknowledge our rebellion against God and all our wrongdoings.
Repent – being completely and utterly sorry for not seeking Him and His ways.
Turn – to no longer want to follow the old ways, but to serve God with all our heart, mind and soul, and to love others as God loves them.
Forgiveness – to accept and receive God’s forgiveness and healing of the past
Holy Spirit – to let God dwell in you through the Holy Spirit to empower you to do His will.
Adoption – you are now part of God’s family, co-heir with Jesus Christ, symbolised through the waters of baptism.
Obedience – deciding to follow Jesus and live out His teachings in an attitude of love.
Reproduce – seeking to draw others into a relationship with Jesus.
As Christians, we all have a mission in life, and that is to bring people into the Church. But, we must have the right motives for doing so.
The Great Commandment – the importance of loving God with all your heart, mind and soul as well as loving others as you love yourself.
The Great Commission – seeking to see others discipled, baptised and obeying God’s commandments.
The Scriptures – believing in its final authority, seeking to interpret them faithfully, whilst applying its truths to every aspect of our lives.
Values – the foundational beliefs that govern our worldview.
Attitudes – our reactions to events around us based on our value system.
Behaviours – what we actually do in reality, showing what is really important to us.
As Christians, we all have a mission in life, and that is to bring people into the Kingdom of God. But there are many ways of doing this as is evidenced in the Scriptures.
Confrontational – the ‘Evangelism Explosion’ approach, ie challenging people about their need to make a commitment
Intellectual – the ‘Apologetics’ approach, ie helping people see the historical and philosophical basis for making a commitment
Service – the Integral Mission’ approach, ie showing God’s love in practical ways that lead people to ask ‘why?’
Testimonial – the ‘Your Story’ approach, ie demonstrating the difference being a Christian makes to one’s life
Invitional – the ‘Special Events’ approach, ie the putting on events that are low key that help people to start thinking about Christianity
Interpersonal – ‘ the Alpha Course’ approach, ie taking people through the basics of the Christian faith and allowing them to raise questions in a non-threatening environment
THE FIVE-STAGE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
To give focus to your life, it is good to create a personal mission statement which guides you in all you do. An example of this is my own Mission Statement:
“To facilitate the process by which Christians can bring others into the Kingdom, be mentored within a small group and empowered to serve God through ministry to others”
Then it is helpful to use the following five stages to implement it and to fulfil the Kingdom Purposes, as listed elsewhere.
AMBASSADORS OF CHRIST TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD
The Lifestyle stage – living out the Christian faith on a day to day basis
EXPOUNDERS OF GRACE TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD
The Speaking Out stage – challenging the status quo, seeking to see biblical values practised in all areas of life
PROCLAIMERS OF THE GOSPEL TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD
The Sharing of the Gospel Stage – taking all the opportunities God gives one to tell others about Jesus, doing it in the power of the Holy Spirit, seeking to see people to come to faith
CONNECTORS OF RELATIONSHIPS TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD
The Spiritual Growth Stage – helping those who have come to faith to become part of a biblical community, laying the foundations of faith which will lead to a reproducing discipling life
EQUIPPERS OF THE SAINTS TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD
The Equipping Stage – helping Christians become effective in their mentoring of others, ministry to the world, and fulfilling their part in the mission of God