God is at work in sovereign and mysterious ways in people’s lives, long before they start the journey as disciples of Jesus.Yet I also know that we – as a faith community – have a responsibility to birth people spiritually or help people start well. God often works in people’s lives in spite of our amateurism, but that should not be an excuse. A tension between divine sovereignty and human systems.
This is more about me/my ministry rather than a pointed finger at others. I am becoming increasingly challenged about ‘what’ I invite people to respond to – because too often people would commit to just a felt needed in a particular context or an incomplete version of the Gospel – rather than the Gospel.
Here are some of my current penciled resolutions:
- Preach the Gospel with simplicity, clarity and courage when you invite someone to become a Christ-follower. Be gracious with yourself knowing that you might struggle to do this well.
- Journey with people, don’t rush, don’t push, offer respect – trust the attractive power of the Gospel.
- Don’t skirt around the tough issues – this will con people. Jesus often dissuaded superficial followers from just being ‘hangers-on’.
- Talk more about ‘kingdom’ and ‘discipleship’ rather than just ‘heaven and hell’ – as life with Christ is for now not just then and it’s a lifestyle rather than a spiritual legal document.
- Discipleship is life-apprenticeship rather than just a book or a course. Ideally new believers have believers who are further ahead in the journey, walk with them through real-life situations.