If you weren’t already convinced about two things, I hope you are now.
First, that it’s absolutely vital to equip God’s people to engage in God’s mission in their day-to-day lives.
And second, that you and your church community – whatever your starting point – can do it.
If you are convinced, but you haven’t started the journey, it’s time to pull off the driveway.
The journey won’t require you to spend any money, hire new staff,
or make drastic changes to what you already do. Even if you’re the only person in your church convinced by this, you can make a difference.
Start with something easy, maybe one of the suggestions to the right – something you’ve seen here and thought, ‘I could do that.’ Get dates in the diary for specific actions. Otherwise there’s a fair chance your good intentions will be drowned out by day-to-day requirements.
Like with a long car journey, you might run into traffic, be diverted,
or get a flat tyre. But when you want to get somewhere, whatever the challenges, you keep heading to your destination.
Here too, keeping going is important. Work, family, friendships, hobbies – these are not ‘topics’ for for your congregants. These are the contexts within which Jesus calls them to follow him, day in, day out, year on year. So, as you begin, think about what will keep you going. And be patient. Establishing rhythms and changing culture takes time.
The good news is, it’s more than worth it. For the churches in this book, the focus on following Jesus in the day-to-day has brought an increase of life and hope. It’s deepened relationships between clergy and laity, between members of the congregation, and between God and his people.
Remember, this isn’t all on you. Others will catch this vision too. And God will definitely be with you. It’s his church. He is committed to helping it grow in strength, vitality, and fruitfulness. And it is he who strengthens and equips those he calls to be leaders within it.
ONE YEAR OF DISCIPLEMAKING
At LICC we often talk about how a one-degree shift in direction can dramatically change the destination of a huge ship. Below are seven action points that can shift your church towards whole-life disciplemaking. Why not commit to trying them over the next 12 months?
1. Change the language from the front
Develop the habit of using language from the front that affirms the
significance of people’s lives beyond the church building, encouraging them that God is with them and wants to work through them.
2. Create a habit of listening
Establish a regular way of listening to those within your church, to find out what challenges, joys, and opportunities they face in their daily lives – such as during tea and coffee time before or after services.
3. Try This Time Tomorrow
Conduct at least four This Time Tomorrow slots in your services (see page 24).
4. Pray for the everyday
Pray about or create space for others to pray about their frontlines during or after services, on at least a monthly basis.
5. Visit frontlines
Visit at least four people from your congregation on their frontlines
(or have a conversation with them focused on their frontline elsewhere).
6. Teach fruitfulness
Encourage your small groups to work through Fruitfulness on the Frontline. If you don’t have regular small groups, you could form a temporary one or run Fruitfulness on the Frontline in a café-style meeting.
7. Envision your team
Organise a discussion within your leadership team where you outline the importance of discipling people for the whole of life, and discuss possible next steps. Encourage them to read this booklet or Imagine Church ahead of time.