Chuck Foreman – Teaching Pastor
Just the very thought of influencing another person to change their entire world view toward one that has God and his plan for our world at its center, is overwhelming. Even more daunting is the idea of how I might possibly persuade someone who is at the center of their own world to change their allegiance from self to Jesus and their focus from self to others. From my experience people don’t change easily. Some people never change at all. I’ve learned how presumptuous it is for me to think that I alone am influential enough to change anyone.
We talk a lot about discipleship—following Jesus, and making disciples—becoming disciple-makers in the church. For someone to become a disciple who isn’t one—to really start following Jesus, is going to require a lot of change. For some reason we tend to believe that if we can just find the right study material and get everyone through it, we’ll be good to go in the disciple making arena. Honestly, I’ve never come across the perfect, fool-proof Bible study or lesson series that actually produced hardcore, sold out disciples of Jesus. The only thing I’ve found that works every time if the heart of the individual is right is getting someone involved in a Relational Environment—a small group of people who are on an honest journey together discovering what it means to become genuine followers of Jesus.
I’ve introduced unbelieving friends of mine with whom I’ve built a relationship to a small group of mostly believing friends I’ve met with each week. I’ve sat back and watched remarkable change happen in my unbelieving friends once they were exposed to two things regularly: (1) an honest, humble investigation of God’s Word, and (2) observing the integrity in the lives of people who were learning to follow Jesus together and experiencing personal change themselves.
When we think about disciple-making in this way, it’s much less overwhelming. It’s actually refreshing and exciting to think that I can be a disciple-maker by simply living as Jesus taught, building friendships with people who don’t know Jesus yet, and then getting them into regular contact with my friends who do know Jesus—the people I’m following Jesus together with.
The power of a life of integrity, a life lived following Jesus, is that it “…makes the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” (Titus 2:10) The power a life lived in community with other followers of Jesus, is that it “…enjoys the favor of all the people (on the outside).” And, “God will add to our number daily those who are being saved.” (Acts 2:47)
If you’ve tried it, share your experience with us. If you haven’t, try it; you’ll like it!