Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Notes for Sunday Message: “Making Disciples: Some Practical Steps”

This Sunday we will continue exploring way and methods of making disciples / followers of Jesus.

Scriptures for Sunday: Acts 17:16-31; Matt 5:14-16; John 15:5

You can read these Scripture here: NIV

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Today I want to continue talking about practical ways of making disciples.

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Two weeks ago we talked about men and women who make conscious decisions NOT to associate themselves with any church or community of worship because they see the traditional church (of which we are a part) as more intellectual than hands-on, more focused on doctrines and definitions than working together to actively fix what is wrong with the world.

{Illustration from practice of ministry}

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Because of this focus on doctrines and definitions, they (the “NONES”) perceive us as argumentative, inflexible, closed minded, and unwilling to work with others. I am not saying that this is the truth; what I am saying is that this is how they see and perceive us and that these perceptions cause a disconnect. Because of these perceptions and that disconnect, younger generations are reluctant, if not resistant, to associate with any traditional church or denomination (Tunik, ‘The Problem of “Nones”’).

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We further said that our challenge is to find ways to reach out to the “NONES.” Our challenge is to listen to their hopes, dreams, ideas, frustrations and pains. Our challenge is to recognize that sometimes their ideas, hopes and dreams might rub us the wrong way, and that’s OK. Our challenge is to recognize how easy it is to fall into a rut and make church about us instead of about God. Our challenge is to discern what God is doing through the younger generations and help them to find a path to accomplish their dreams, a stable environment where they are loved and accepted, and understanding that when they are with God all things are possible (Tunik, ‘The Problem of “Nones”’).

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Last week we talked about churches wanting to grow and add new worshippers to their pews. Although most churches see their desire for growth rooted in their need to maintain older buildings and pay bills, I think that the desire to grow is rooted in our relationship with God, in the Holy Spirit’s tugging on our very souls and in our gratitude for the experiences and spiritual fulfillment that all of us share in the context of a Christian community (Buddle). Our desire for numerical growth is rooted in our faith and in the source of our hope – God the Father that understood and forgave us, God the Son that redeemed us by dying on the Cross and coming back to life on Easter morning and God the Holy Spirit that is leading and guiding our daily lives.

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That faith and that hope also have to manifest themselves somehow in the way we act and interact with each other and with our neighbors (James 2:18, 20, 26).

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Perception is the reality, because all of us respond to our perceptions (Schultz).

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  • The “NONES” perceive us as judging them.

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  • The “NONES” see us as communities that do not value their opinions or appreciate their dreams.

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  • The “NONES,” at least some of them, see us as hypocritical – as in do what I say and not what I do.

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  • Most importantly, the “NONES” want GOD, they do not want a set of rules and regulations.

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Our challenge is to stop talking and teaching long enough TO LISTEN to our neighbors outside our walls. We need to do that NOT so we can fix our stained glass windows or buy new carpet, but so that we can help our neighbors to foster and nurture a closer relationship with Jesus (Schultz).

We further said that making disciples means that we have to find ways to engage others in our families, neighborhoods and communities where they are, rather than where we want them to be for us. It means listening to their stories, to their actions and to their lives and helping them to discover where God is already present in their life’s journey (Tunik, “Coming Out Of Our Shells”).

So how do we do that?

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{The process of making disciples}

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{“Soup and Pie” illustration from practice of ministry}

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{Drama Production: “Free six course meal: how else can we pay you to suffer through our terrible acting?” Illustration from practice of ministry}

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{Luncheon Day/Community Meal illustration: many churches do that}

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{Foreign exchange students / “Adopt a student” programs: illustration from my practice of ministry}

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{Advertise, advertise, advertise!}    /   {Invite, invite, invite!}

{Handout: Something to think about…}

 

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Works Cited

Buddle, The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar. “Bishop Mariann’s Blog.” 17 01 2013. edow.org. 18 01 2013 < http://www.edow.org/bishops_blog/2013/01/17/what-do-we-mean-when-we-say-we-want-to-grow >.

Schultz, Thom. “Why People Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore.” 11 07 2012. Holy Soup with Thom Schultz. 26 01 2013 < http://holysoup.com/2012/07/11/why-people-dont-want-to-go-to-church-anymore/ >.

Tunik, Asher F. “Making Disciples: Coming out of our shells.” 12 01 2013. Zis-N-Zat. 26 01 2013 https://pastorasher.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/notes-for-sunday-message-making-disciples-coming-out-of-our-shells/  .

—. “Notes for Sunday Message: “Making Disciples: the Problem of ‘NONES’”.” 06 01 2013. Zis-N-Zat. 26 01 2013 < https://pastorasher.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/notes-for-sunday-message-making-disciples-the-problem-of-nones/ >.

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