We recently celebrated the Lord’s Resurrection together, did you know that Jesus appeared to hundreds of people after his resurrection and Paul says in I Corinthians 15 he appeared to 500 at one time. Then just before he ascended he left his disciples with the what we know as the great commission. The crux of this commission was “go and make disciples”. When I was a young man I thought it only meant “go” as in go to Africa, go in to professional ministry, or go on a mission trip. While it does mean that, it may also be explained this way; “as you go” make disciples. This can radically change your understanding of the commission to go. If it is “as you go” it means “as you go” to work, “as you go” to school, “as you go” to the ball field, and even “as you go” home make disciples. If we begin to see our everyday lives as an opportunity to make disciples we will be fulfilling the great commission as the Lord intended.
How do we do this? One of the things that I hear repeatedly from people is they are afraid they are going to say the wrong thing. But, it might encourage you to know that according to recent research “78% of people who don’t attend church regularly are open to discussions about your faith if asked”. Many people want to talk about it. Getting the conversation started might be frightening, but can be a very natural thing. How so? Invite them to church. Many conversations start that way. If they come with you and hear the gospel preached you can ask them afterwards what they thought about what was said. This often will lead to deep conversations about the gospel. What people most want to hear is what your faith means to you and how it has impacted and changed you and your story. You can also commit to pray for them, which might just be the most important thing we can do for them.
To help all of us focus in on this concept of making disciples “as you go” we are going to kick off a campaign we are calling Faithful for Four. The idea behind Faithful for Four is to ask you to join me in committing yourself to praying for, engaging in meaningful conversation with, and inviting to church four friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. who you know do not attend church regularly. Even as you read this you probably are forming a list in your mind of people who fit that description. Pray for them now! And commit yourself to seeking to be faithful to them.
One of the most profound statements about the early church in Acts 2 is “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved”. As we are faithful to worshipping God, praying, applying the gospel to our lives, and making disciples “as we go” lives will be changed and our church will be full. Filling the pews is not the goal, making disciples is the goal. We can’t sit back and wait for people to come to us. If we truly believe “the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1) we must go and take the message with us! Won’t you join us as we are Faithful for Four!
“Faithful for Four” is reprinted from St. Paul Evangelical Church’s May 2017 Newsletter.