Waking the Sleeping Giant
A Call to be Contagious – pt 2
– Last Sunday night we looked at a A Call to be Contagious – pt 1. In the message we looked at 4 reasons why almost 200 million people will not be in church this weekend, we also looked at 6 ways that we can become a contagious church. This morning we are going to finish A Call to be Contagious, by looking at how to be used by God, Practical Ways to reach out to those around you,and if there is time, how to increase evangelism in your small group. If you are not a part of a small group Sunday School class I encourage you, it is essential for you in your growth as a Christian. It helps you to grow in intimacy with God, it helps you to grow in community (authentic relationships) with other believers, and it helps you to grow in influence with un-churched people.
How to be used by God
1) Start where you are, with family and with friends whom you already know.
2) Be yourself with them. Don’t think you have to be like anyone else to be effective in helping people discover the love of Jesus.
3) Include them in your interests and hobbies, building and deepening your relationships in the process. You are more “alive” when you’re doing things you like to do.
4) Do other things together, cultivating intentional friendships with those who haven’t yet experienced the personal love and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ.
5) Pray for those people regularly by name, and look for their needs in terms of transendence, significance, and community.
6) Find a way to genuinely serve them. Reach them through their hearts more than through their heads.
7) Be especially prayerful and available when they face tough times, knowing that as people face crises they often turn to balanced, spiritually centered, trusted friends.
8) Respond with “I care” statements and actions. Make sure your actions speak louder than your words.
9) Ask leading questions rather than telling them answers. Remember that most people prefer to discover the truth themselves.
10) Invite them to make a step toward God. Ask them what God is teaching them. Ask them how they would like you to pray for them.
“When Christians sign up to follow Jesus, we say we’ll go out into the lives of our family, friends, associates, and neighbors. We agree that our mission is to bring back as many people as we can. If we’re more concerned about the comforts of having our own needs met, then we’ve missed the point of our calling and of our salvation. We can cocoon ourselves, or we can put on our waders and step out to reach others. Those who are willing to take prayerful, bold, relational risks are finding God‘s pathway an incredible cure to their own flat, dead faith.” Tom Clegg and Warren Bird < quote >
Practical Ways to Reach out to Those Around you
1) Pray in community regularly and by name for lost or unchurched people you personally know.2) Join a small group.3) A face-lift at church that will give people an excuse to invite friends.4) Develop a more guest-friendly way of helping newcomers fit in.5) Join the most outreach-effective ministry at your church that matches your spiritual gifts.6) Find or help create other relational and culturally relevant contexts to bring guests to.7) Update the worship service.8) Help sponsor a church plant.9) Revise your church budget to identify and increase spending in the specific areas related to evangelism.10) Phase out programs or committees that make people too busy.
“After the tragic 1999 earthquake in northwest Turkey, many newscasts asked how towns could have been more prepared and buildings could have been more sound. The National Public Radio program All Things Considered gave one of the most unfortunate stories of all. Apparentely some 30 years previously people in one of the small towns in that region had been informed by authorities that the town was situated right on top of a major fault line. The danger was so significant that authorities suggested that the community relocate. The citizens gathered to discuss the issue. Their response was a solemn town council vote to move the fault line on the map, rather than to move the town. Many people paid for that unfortunate decision with their lives.
Likewise, many people today live on fault lines. Some of the faults are seen and some are unseen. Regularly we agree to move the fault line instead of moving our ministry. We move the fault line whenever we limit our relationships to people who are already living in safety. I vote in my heart that the fault line is unimportant when I allow my friends to keep building their lives on the fault of hopelessness, fully aware that a seismic shock lies just beneath the surface and can cost them eternity. I need to deal with the fault line by building relationships.
If people are separated from us by an ocean and a different language, we tend to be more eager to spring into action. But when the people at risk are the people in my world who look like me, sound like me, and value the same kinds of things I value, I’m more reluctant to face the ugly fact that I’m building on a fault line. If I don’t pray, if I don’t love, and if I don’t go, then I’m in utter denial of the impending shifts beneath the soil.
Is my inactivity because I refuse to believer that there’s an earthquake coming? Even when all else fails, don’t move the line. Instead pray, love, and go. Help make this world a better place, and help populate heaven for the next age, through one loving relationship after another.” Tom Clegg and Warren Bird < quote >
How to Increase Evangelism by your Small Group
1) Make reaching out to the lost your highest priority.2) Find a “spark plug” – a person who is excited about bringing unbeliever-filled households to the Lord and to Small Group life, as Andrew did with Peter (John 1:41-42).3) Pray fervently for lost people, fasting on occasion as well.4) Develop personal relationships ans show Christ’s love.5) Sow God’s Word in casual and intentional conversations.6) Plan ahead. Think about what to do when a person comes to the Lord.7) Persist in reaching the lost. Don’t give up.