Dreamers Meeting - INReach
So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
Andy Stanley often says, “Life change happens in circles not rows”. Like many churches, Most churches gather together on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings for the primary purpose of teaching. While we spend time singing, praying, partaking communion, and giving, we spend a majority of our time together working through the Word. In my life time, preaching has always seemed to be the focus of our gatherings. We come together in a room, or auditorium, or sanctuary, sit on pews or chairs in rows, and gain information.
But that’s not the focus seen in the New Testament.The church will not grow because of the church staff. The body of Christ is built from the inside out; from the participation and willingness of its members to see it grow. Ultimately, the church is built by relationships. You might remember our family rule about outreach: First, we must learn to like one another. If we learn to like one another then we can learn to trust one another. If I trust you to love me and accept me then I can be honest without the fear of being judged, and I can grow spiritually. If I am growing spiritually, then I will be on fire for Christ and desire others to come and take part in a relationship with my Savior. The first step is to get into circles, so that we can learn to like and trust one another.
One of the things Paul constantly pointed the early Christians to is their need to reach inwards to one another. It seems that the primary activity of the early church was one-anothering one another. At it’s very core, the church is built on relationships and how we relate to one another.
Love one another (John 13:34), Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10), Honor one another (Romans 12:10), Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16), Accept one another (Romans 15:7), Instruct one another (Romans 15:14), Greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16), Serve one another (Galatians 5:13), Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2), Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32), Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32), Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21), Teach one another (Colossians 3:16), Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16), Encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 4:18), Confess to one another (James 5:16), Pray for each other. (James 5:16), Live in harmony with one another (1 Peter 3:8), Offer hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9).
Let me stop here for a moment and say that since the church is primarily built through relationships, then we must actually engage in relationships with the people around us. Every time we open up the doors of this building, real people, with real lives, real successes, real struggles, real joy, and real brokenness walk in. In other words, people who have experienced the same highs and lows we all experience come in this building.
When we talk about in-reach what we want to do is to set up an environment, that will make discipleship a possibility. We want Greenbrier to be a place where discipleship is not just another ministry, but the basis of every ministry. If we are not making disciples, then can we really call ourselves a body of believers?
So how do we do we encourage that environment? We must be intentional about pouring into the lives of others. We need to be willing to get into and explore each others world, by showing up at their kids volleyball game, or choir concert. Carve out time to meeting for coffee or breakfast before work. Go play golf once a month or hiking with the families, so they can see how your family interacts. Go eat lunch with each other on Sunday’s after church. If you are someone who likes to work out, then meet at the gym, if you like to cook, then meet at the grocery store, if you like to hang at Wal-Mart well then I’ll pray for you.
I am not asking you to start another program. The last thing you need to to put something on your already busy schedule because you feel obligated or guilty. And I am not saying that you need to be a super-Christian who has everything figured out; some of the best mentoring I ever received is when I was invited to join someone who’s life was falling apart and I was able to watch them maneuver through the rapids of life. All that is required to disciple someone is be a little farther on your journey than they are on theirs.
And discipling shouldn’t be forced, awkward, or a boring. And it doesn’t have to look like a weekly appointment at Starbucks. In fact, discipling is at its best when two people weave their relationship into the fabric of their everyday, normal lives. Think of spending time with a mentor like developing a friendship instead of a weekly appointment with your own personal biblical guru. Like the early church we want to our primary activity to be one-anothering one another.
We want to help people be participants instead of spectators. The idea is that the family must present lots of opportunities for everyone to contribute their talents to the congregation's greater good. While we cannot make people grow in their faith, we can offer them avenues to serve in the ways God leads them. We must be committed to starting new ministries that will help people use their talents, and provide training so people can acquire the skills necessary to do everything that needs to be done.
We cannot get overly focused on the size of a ministry. If a ministry has 2 or 200 working in that ministry, as long as it brings glory to God, it is a worthwhile ministry.
Spend a few moments talking about a few ways you can do some in-reach and build community