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We Need to Love Them More

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I wrote this little piece in response to question posed by http://www.wineskins.com about how to more effectively grow disciples. This is what I wrote. I don’t know if they will consider printing it or not so I thought I would print it here in case they didn’t.

The answer that I would give to the question of how to effectively mentor disciples may be a little different than what you may usually hear.  I could give my 5 steps to effective evangelism or tips on how to teach a Bible class, but I really don’t think either of these matter as much in learning how to grow disciples as one thing. Learn to love them more. 

That’s right. This probably sounds like the typical answer that you are supposed to give in church but I think, in this case, it is the best answer I could give.  In today’s world, authenticity is one of the most important ways that trust is established among people and a new believer (or unbeliever) will soon come to a conclusion about whether you truly care about them or not.  This trust relationship will set the stage for every interaction that you ever have with this person and may very likely determine if this person will be willing to open up their heart to you.  If the person is not willing to open up their heart to you how will they be able to open it to Jesus through you.

This way of truly loving them will not be easy because people in the world will have different values than the ones you hold. Notice, I did not say they “may” have different values. They will have different ones.  The world has changed and we no longer live in a Christianized society with the basic values that some of us have become accustomed to.  We are going to have to reach out and truly love people who (many of us) were taught to despise. We are going to have to truly care for the homosexuals, the divorced, the cohabitatants, the addicts, the prostitutes, the pagans, the porn star, and the pornographer. We also are going to have to love the hungry, the sick, the poor, the dirty, the rejects, the loners, that weird kid, and the “guy you would never let in your house”. 

The early church was full of people that were the despised of the world. They came to Jesus because nobody else would except them and love them as they were. After seeing the holiness of Jesus they had no desire to stay the way they were, but Jesus excepted them as they were. We must do the same. We have to accept and care for all the people that were listed above and those not listed.  We have to start associating with the people we were taught not to associate with and let the “guy you would never let in your house” in your house, your church, and in your life. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7) Let’s not forget this.  The Christian walk is a dangerous journey but we are given a Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline to take the risks that must be taken for God’s Kingdom.  The world isn’t in the church because the church doesn’t love the world.

Written by freeinchrist

July 4, 2008 at 5:43 am