Monday, January 14, 2008

Is he calling you too? John 1:29-42

Early on in all 4 gospels Jesus called people to follow him 1 at time. Some disciples came to him after following John the Baptist. 2 of them heard their teacher greet Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:35-38). They asked Jesus where he was staying and got an invitation,

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). John 1:39-42 (NIV)

The church needs to learn this 1 to 1 method of discipleship again. For 15oo years the power of force was used to build the church. From the time of Constantine until Nietzsche's announcement that God was dead and forgotten Christendom grew as peoples were forced to convert. Swords can convince people to act; but they can do nothing about the human spirit. What we need to find is our own way to share the Good News 1 to 1.

Making disciples of all peoples is a great calling for the church. It's our calling wherever God might choose to plant us. And it should be getting us excited and calling forth all our creative energy as church today. John's gospel invites this week to see it happen the first time. Jesus connected with Andrew 1 to 1 and Andrew went and connected with his brother Simon. Our ministry is to help others meet and follow Christ as disciples 1 to 1 just as Andrew did, and just as Jesus had done for him.

Just about every day new informations arrives on my desk or comes more likely to my email inbox about some program that's guaranteed to help grow our church. I've tried some. I've seen the wonders that setting aside 40 days to study a book like Purpose Driven as a church can do. It's amazing to see adults raised as Lutherans and Catholics, often for the first time, talk out loud with others about their faith.

Programs can be catalysts when we and our people engage 1 to 1 on issues of faith. But there's a limit to all the programs. In The Good News From North Haven by Michael Lindvall there's a wonderful story about a pastor who sent away for a program guaranteed to increase attendance and discipleship. He was sure it would work. But in the end it is the Spirit working as we work 1 to 1 to tell the story

No comments: