Tag Archives: disciple

Who Are Your People Groups?

In my discussions with Bryan Barley (see “Disciples Who Make Disciples“), he shared the way his faith community was defining their mission.  If you have been involved in any American churchianity you have come across the unhealthy view of missions as “over there.”  You know, the missionary comes to your church with their overhead projector, slideshow, and indigenous outfit to share about what it means to be a missionary.

The Biblical reality is that all Christians are full-time missionaries.  Most are full-time paid missionaries who get their pay from some occupation not related to their faith (i.e., schoolteacher, lawyer, nurse, etc.).  Many Christians see missionaries as the super-Christians who are uniquely called to dedicate their lives to sharing the gospel to a particular group of people (usually in a foreign context).  The reality is that all Christians are called to dedicate their lives to sharing the gospel with a particular group of people.  Some of us (far more of us than have actually gone) are called to go to the lost nations of the world.  However, in the modern world many of the nations have come to America.  My most effective years of “mission” where when I was a student at William and Mary (“Bill and the Babe” as we alums call it).  Many college campuses are a sampling of various “people groups” from across the nation and the globe.  The nations have literally come to your back door!

Those of us who have been on short-term mission trips are used to the “assignment” when we go.  In fact, one of the reasons “mission trips” are so successful is the clear focus on the assignment of going and telling others about the gospel.  On such trips one has a clear task.  If all of us are really full-time missionaries, why don’t we think in such clear terms daily?

Vocational missionaries use the language of “people groups” to describe unique pockets of culture they are trying to infiltrate with the gospel.  Who are your people groups and what are you trying to do to reach them?  In college my people groups where my coworkers at The Coffeehouse, my hallmates in the dorm, and my colleagues in the classroom.  In seminary my people groups where my coworkers, the regulars at the dog park, and my neighbors in the apartment complex.  Now, my people groups are the teenagers of North Suffolk, the employees of the places I frequently visit (i.e., barber, barista, grocery store clerk), and my neighbors.

Who are your people groups?

What are you doing to reach them with the gospel?

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“Dear Jesus, Give Me What I Want.”

Meditate with me on this fantastic passage of Scripture in Mark 10.  Jesus is talking to the disciples and begins telling them about his death and resurrection:

“‘We are going up to Jerusalem,'” he said, “‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law.  They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him.  Three days later he will rise.'”

Wow!  Talk about powerful stuff.  Jesus is telling his disciples about the brutal death he is going to endure and about his miraculous resurrection that is to come.  A casual Bible reader is well aware that the disciples never fully grasp the idea that Jesus is going to rise from the dead.  They are clearly taken by surprise when he actually is resurrected.

In this passage, however, what struck me as particularly amusing is the request from the Zebedee brothers that follows.

“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we want you to do for us whatever we ask.'”

Seriously?!  That’s your next question?!  Jesus says he is going to die a terrible, miserable, painful death and then be RAISED FROM THE DEAD and all you can ask is “what’s in it for me?”

Before I am too harsh on the disciples I better look at my own life.  How often do I try to make Jesus my genie.  Instead of pondering how I can sacrifice myself for the glorious cause of Christ, I too often spend my time asking Jesus for physical comforts.  Rather than making salvation all about the glory and power of God, I try to focus it all about.  After all, it is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Stop and think about what Christ has done.  Focus on how to respond to the beauty of the gospel.  Do not follow Jesus merely for temporal blessings.  Rather, follow Jesus because of who He is and what He has done by dying and being raised to life.

Being a Follower of Christ

In the last few weeks I have had a couple of opportunities to teach teenagers about “discipleship.”  We talked through what the New Testament says about being a follower of Christ.  I am still learning what it means to be a fully committed disciple of Jesus.  Here are the three preliminary conclusions I have distilled from the Scriptures about “discipleship.”

1.  Discipleship is costly.

2.  Discipleship is full-time.

3.  Discipleship is worth it.

Jesus emphasizes over-and-over that following Him is an all-or-nothing proposition.  I think of how the first disciples immediately left their livelihoods and relationships to follow Jesus.  They were by no means perfect and had a lot of room to grow but they did not let that stop them from following Jesus.