We are called to move with what the Spirit is doing next
Like any healthy organism, we grow. So we are always preparing to birth a new cell, plant the next congregation and generate the next venture of compassionate service.
Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt
Read 2 Timothy 2:1-13
[B]e strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
More thoughts to ponder
Let’s not be deluded. The United States speaks the language of business, so every time we hear “growth” we have a deep understanding of “market share” and “profit” and “gross national product.” But when we use the word, we are not using the capitalist idea of “growth.” We mustn’t let our words get stolen.
We are not a business, even though we can do some good business, we are the body of Christ. Our growth is a natural feature of being alive in the Spirit. We are instinctively determined to reproduce. So we talk about how we are growing all the time, just like any of our aunts might see us and say, “Well, look how you have grown!”
This is an excerpt from one of the resource pages in “Fire” on the Way of Jesus site that talks about reproducing disciples and so, growing in number as the church. The author wants everyone to get back to an organic expression of the church so we make disciples in everyday life, not in “school:”
Jesus didn’t explain in advance everything His disciples would need to know; instead He gave them His Holy Spirit to continue their training after His departure (John 16:13). With the Holy Spirit’s guidance and empowering, the disciples then trained others to follow Jesus just as He had trained them—through modeling, practice, transparency and discussion.
Consider these essential components of what Jesus gave the disciples:
• Being a living example of what complete obedience looks like.
• Real time training in working alongside the Holy Spirit.
• Guided experience to develop appropriate skills.
• Group obedience to overcome individual hesitance.
• Clear assignments, feedback and correction.
• An example of empowering disciples to make other disciples.
The Church in Acts had no written record of Jesus’ teachings, and Jesus drew others to Himself so quickly that there were soon too many followers for most to have direct contact with the Twelve. Yet despite the unavailability of the tools we depend on today, explosive growth continued as Jesus-followers received Spirit-led ministry from one another in small groups (1 Cor. 14:26). This reproducible group process resulted in multiplying, Spirit-led, loving obedience to Jesus which rapidly drew yet others to follow Him.
Circle of Hope thrives, or not, if we maintain that organic sense of who we are and let the Holy Spirit cause our growth. It is very tempting to give up and let ourselves be re-colonized by people who control us with procedure and hierarchy in order to manage the “disciples” we’ve got. We are resisting that temptation.
Suggestions for action
Pray: Make me strong in your grace. Empower me to entrust others with the life with which I am entrusted.
Why don’t you read the 2 Timothy passage again and read it like it is not “the Bible,” but is a tool Paul gave his disciple Timothy, who was learning to follow Jesus on-the-job?
Who is one of your disciples (or the closest thing you’ve got)? What if you were writing them a letter to encourage their faith? What would you write? Maybe you should write it and give it to them. They might like being taken so seriously.