Thursday, August 28, 2014

Church used to be all about the invite.

Everyone went to church whether they wanted to or not. It was a cultural expectation. All you had to do was invite someone, and there was a very good chance if your church had the right denominational sign on the building that whoever you invited would show up and get connected to the church. The invite worked…and then it didn’t.

Church used to be all about invest and invite.

Going to church was no longer a cultural expectation. We still had relationships from our workplace, neighborhood, social circles and families though. We learned that outreach was highly relational. We were challenged to invest and invite. If we invested in a relationship, eventually there would be enough trust established to invite our friend to church. At that point, the church would take over. All we had to do was get them to church where our friends would hear the Gospel message, get plugged into a small group and start serving. The invest and invite strategy worked…and then it didn’t.

The problem with the invest and invite strategy is that we expect “the church” to be responsible for discipleship. We, of course, forget that WE are the church. And, I think we forget that when Jesus said “go and make disciples of all the nations,” this wasn’t direction for an institution — this was intended to be the mission for every Christ-follower. That’s you and me.

For too long, we’ve abdicated our responsibility for discipleship. We’ve assumed that’s something the church is supposed to do.

One of my favorite verses in Scripture comes from something Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica...“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8)

That’s a great reminder (and challenge) for me. Discipleship is not just hearing the Gospel message. It’s not just about gaining knowledge. It’s also about applying that knowledge to everyday life. Because of that, discipleship can’t happen apart from sharing life. That’s why church programs and preaching will never make disciples.

Think about your own experiences. You studied the Bible. You engaged personal disciplines. You probably had someone in your life to encourage and challenge you in your faith journey. I did. These guys didn’t assume it was the church’s responsibility to help me take my next steps toward Christ. They invested in me.

excerpt from article written by Tony Morgan for Outreach Magazine    click here to read entire article