Now that we have established that our focus is on making disciples instead of “starting church”. We can now focus on obeying Jesus’ and His commands as we walk with Him and also with others.
Naturally, this will lead us to loving our neighbours, and those whom we interact with daily at work or around us. And eventually, this can lead to a community being formed for Christ, and many more communities being formed for Christ.
Let’s look at the daily routine of a typical someone W, whose routine might look like yours. In the morning, W heads to work, and might take the train to work, and W might meet the neighbor next door leaving at the same time. At the train station W might meet neighbours whom he sees at the same platform daily catching the same train. And by the time W arrives at his work place, there will be some folks whom he sees day in, day out in the workplace. Then as W steps into the office building, he might meet the security guard, or the janitor. W might meet the other occupants in the same office building who might not be his colleagues. And W will finally see the bunch of colleagues whom he works with regularly and might have lunch together with them. From morning till the time W gets home, those are W’s “neighbours”. And that is W’s natural organic community!
So, it is impossible to say that one does not have community. Even if you do not work at an office, and are working from home or a housewife, you will see the immediate neighbors from time to time and chat with them when you take out the trash or when you go for a stroll to the nearby park. You will go to your grocer or supermarket in the neighbourhood and you might meet the vendors, cashiers, the regular staff at the supermarket and perhaps other neighbours from the estate or suburb as often as you go there. You might meet the regular mailman who delivers your mail. You might go to the bakery nearby and you will meet with the regulars at the bakery too. The possibilities of meeting and connecting with others are endless!
Now, that is YOUR COMMUNITY.
The question you should be asking yourself is how do I bring Christ to my community? Not how do I “start a church”. If you go down the trajectory of the latter, it will lead you to think of the things you do unnaturally like starting a band, getting a microphone and sound system, possibly renting a space when you already have one and live in one! All the latter costs you $. Often enough, big $ that go down the drain and do not bear the kind of fruit that Christ is looking for.
Jesus gave us the 2nd greatest commandment:
Love Your Neighbour as yourself!
That is our starting point! (without stating the obvious of loving God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength -1st and greatest commandment)
In fact, just a few weeks before the pandemic lockdown, I had moved into a new rental and I was able to get to know my neighbours who were pre-believers. They had never heard about God or Christ and have never read the bible. And during the COVID19 lockdown, I intentionally made connections and even started an English Conversation Time with them online. They are students in a foreign land and that was an initial starter I thought I would do to get to know them and to also help them with their conversation English. By the 2nd time, we were able to get her to read and discover 1st miracle Jesus performed as recorded in the gospel of John.
I used a tool called “7 signs of John” and with these questions to help her to realise and discover for herself who Jesus is.
This tool is particularly helpful to pre-believers who are interested in the Bible and interested in knowing who Jesus is. Through facilitating the reading of 7 Signs, and asking these questions, it is designed to help them discover Jesus as God.
They are also framed in such a way to encourage SIMPLE OBEDIENCE and also SIMPLE SHARING by a new/pre-believer to others in his/her community.
In this way this tool seeks to:
1) be personally applicable (and does not end up as a bible study that focuses on just giving information/head knowledge)
2) be simply sharable by a seeker to his/her community.
After going through the 1st sign of how Jesus turned water into wine in 20 min, she was so awed by Jesus. She said "wow He's magical, he's amazing, He's incredible and.. !"She was really at a loss of words to describe Him. It really warms my heart to hear someone so excited to read about Jesus and so excited about Him. She said "now I can ask Jesus for help me in my problems and trouble too".
By the last question, she was all ready to share it with her housemate.
Who says COVID19 can stop us from being the real church and reaching out and making disciples for His kingdom?
Remember, these are tools to help bring about community but not the essence of community in itself. It is important to note that tools are only used to help us get something done. They are not the end in itself.
For example, we use a hammer to knock a nail onto a wall, but that is so that we could hang up a picture, in order to decorate the room. We could also use a screw driver to do that but it will be less effective obviously, but achieve the same end result.
It is clear that a tool is designed with a specific function and purpose in mind. It would be totally wrong if we use a hammer to knock the nail into the wall and not do anything else thereafter leaving the ugly nail sticking out of the wall!
I think you get the picture!
When we use these tools, we need to ask ourselves, what end do we hope to accomplish?
In the case of my neighbours, I was intentional in getting her contact when I first met her at the lobby of the building. I was intentional in chatting with her. I was intentional in building relationship with her. I was intentional in inviting her over for a meal. I was intentional in starting a weekly online conversation with her. We started talking about the topic of “fear”, and I was intentional in introducing Christ through that topic and shared on how I coped with fear. As I continued being intentional, she was very open and receptive and also started sharing with her friend on the things I have shared with her during our English conversations weekly. She invited another friend to join us online! Subsequently after the 3rd English conversation, I intentionally suggested using the bible as text for our English conversations and I used the above 7 signs in John as a tool to introduce Jesus Christ to them.
John 20:30-31 (NKJV) "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."
This tool is a great starter for pre-believers or even some types of “church-goers” or “Christmas/Easter Christians”. They might end up having a better picture and understanding of who Jesus really is; that he is not just a cute little Baby in swaddling cloths. It baffles even a pastor, or someone who thinks they know Jesus already. It can demolish lots of preconceived or wrong notions about the Jesus-they-think-they-know.
Intentionality is very important in everything we do. Call it “purpose” if you prefer a more spiritual term. We are not people with an ulterior motive but people with an intentional purpose. We must intentionally disciple, intentionally evangelise. There must be intentionality in everything we do, so that "whatever we do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Col3:17).
Many times, Paul said this in his letter: "for this reason" and "for this purpose". Jesus Himself always had a purpose. Everyone He met, everywhere He went.
In criminal law, generally, for someone to be guilty of committing a crime, intention or mens rea( Latin for “intention”) has to be proven to show criminal liability even if action (actus rea) can be proven.
If it is so powerful in the negative, how much more the power of positive intention to do good in the name of Jesus. It is the very evidence or proof of our lives being lived out purposefully for Christ.
We cannot live life without purpose, and as followers of Christ we must live our lives INTENTIONALLY for HIM and him alone. For this purpose He came to seek us and save us from being LOST and give us His purpose. Not our purpose, but His purpose. Not our desires, but His desire. Not our will, but His will be done. We don't live for ourselves, but for Him.
As we know God’s will, we must intentionally walk in God’s will. That is OBEDIENCE. I encourage you to do His will: to love Him and love your neighbour as yourself.
As you do that, you will fulfil God’s will everyday of your life in every place He places you. Will you take the first step to OBEY Christ in His simple commands to love Him and love your neighbour? Will you be quick to OBEY His mission, to start looking for a “person of peace” and start making 1 disciple for Jesus?
In fact, you can start obeying God right now, after reading this email.
Have fun obeying His commands, and doing His will.
Group of Author/s
Karen Gan-Tay - Daughter and lover of God. Disciple of Jesus. Ambassador of the Kingdom of God. Wife. Mother.