Neil is right on when he says, “When God wants to start a movement, he doesn’t begin with the best people; he starts with the broken.” This is what Jesus meant when he advised a Pharisee leader not to invite his friends and rich neighbors to a banquet. Instead, he says, “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” because “God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you”(Luke 14:13-14).
In what ways can you intentionally invite the poor and broken into your life?
Hope for the Poor
This is Discipleship
In this informative video, Alex Absalom explains the 5 contexts of discipleship. You can read more from Alex Absalom at his website.
Matt Carter is right on. Most people today—especially young people—are no longer content to let church services define the depth and length of their spiritual walk. They are seeking significance; they want to feel like they can make a difference in the world. It is time for the church to recognize it is not a fortress for believers but a hospital for unbelievers. How can we do this?
1. Seek Unbelievers. Jesus makes our mission clear. He tells us to, “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). Instead of waiting for people to come to us, we must go to, “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6). In other words, unbelievers are not the seekers—we are. This is what we need to communicate to all believers.
2. Serve Others. This is what Jesus came to do (Mark 10:45). It means getting out of our comfort zones and looking for ways to serve people in our community—no strings attached. What are the needs in your community? Talk to your mayor and social service agencies. Take a poll in a coffee shop. Find out what you can do and then take a young person to serve with you.
3. Schedule Time. Evangelism does not happen by accident. Our schedules are already so busy that we need to plan times to be with people outside of church, family and work. I wrote about this is in Living Dangerously. “What are your interests? Become involved in activities you enjoy, with the distinct purpose of meeting others in places like health clubs, community sporting clubs, and parent clubs. Volunteer at hospitals, rest homes, or at community events such as car shows, parades, or charity events. These activities bring people together, and provide opportunities for establishing relationships” (p. 120). Our role is make disciples that make disciples, so we need to invite someone to share these activities with us.
What else can you do to challenge and mentor young people in the church today?
This is Discipleship
Study Reveals Spiritual Disconnect Among Millennials
If you are not familiar with Frank Viola, you should be! He is the author of books such as Pagan Christianity (with George Barna), Jesus: A Theography (with Leonard Sweet) and From Eternity to Here.
In Discipleship in Crisis, Viola says, “The problem, as I see it, is that there are a boatload of false assumptions about what a disciple of Jesus really is. And there are some crucial missing ingredients on the subject that are rarely if ever taught.”
This book is available for free until March 15th. You can read more from Frank Viola at FrankViola.org
New book: Jesus Manifesto
Free ebook: The 5 Habits of Highly Missional People
LifeWay recently surveyed 1,086 Canadian Christians who attend church at least once a month. One focus of the study was on Bible reading.
The study revealed that one third of respondents rarely or never read the Bible outside of church, and only 11 percent read the Bible daily. Sixty-two percent of respondents disagreed with the statement, “If I go several days without reading the Bible, I find myself unfulfilled.”
When respondents were asked how often they study the Bible, More than half (53 percent) said they rarely or never study the Bible. Ed Stetzer, lead researcher, said, “This was particularly concerning to me. You simply won’t grow if you don’t know God and spend time in God’s Word. Bible engagement has an impact in just about every area of spiritual growth.”
The survey revealed that people have higher levels of Bible engagement when they actively do the following:
- Confess wrongdoings to God and ask forgiveness.
- Believe in Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven.
- Make a decision to obey or follow God, knowing that it might be costly.
- Pray for people they know are not professing Christians.
- Read a book about increasing their spiritual growth.
- Have a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a spiritually mature Christian.
Which of the above activities is weakest in your life?
How can you improve in this area?
The State of Christianity in Australia
America’s Mood Map: An Interactive Guide
Global Decline of Religiosity
Christian Missions Across the Globe