Church Involvement

Creating a Culture of Involvement in Every Church – 2018 Church Involvement Conference January 19 & 20

Category: Discipleship

Always Being Prepared for Something

God is Always Preparing You for Something

One of the most impressive (to me) Bible stories is the story of Moses.   Think about this:  he was born into a hostile environment, found by the Pharoah’s daughter, raised in the palace, nursed by his mother, a favorite son of the Pharoah and then murders an Egyptian.   That’s the first 40 years of his life.

Having run for his life, he ends up marrying a shepherdess and becomes a shepherd for 40 years.   I mean, what kind of highly educated man would want to do that?   But he humbly shepherded sheep until He encountered God in the burning bush.

Those first 80 years of his life prepared him for his ultimate calling:   to lead God’s chosen out of slavery and into a new land.

One of our retired brothers has worked in the jail ministry with drug dealers and addicts.   I recently learned that he had been a drug head when he was younger and had struggled with it all his life.    He also shared with me his feelings about it all:   “The Lord has prepared me for this ministry.”    I agree.   It’s difficult to argue with that.    His female counterpart is a mother of two fine young folks and works in a factory.    She works long hard hours and has opened her home to more than one female addict.    I ask her ever-so-often, “Are you ok?”    Her answer?   “I love this.   This is what I should be doing.”   I agree.    I believe that God has prepared her all her life to do what she does week after week in our county jail.

What is (and what has) the Lord preparing you for?   If you’re a recovering addict, he may be preparing you to work with addicts.   If you have survived cancer, he may be preparing you to help others who are struggling with cancer.   If you have been through a divorce, God may be preparing you to minister to divorcees.   If you have lost a loved one, He may be preparing you to help others in grief.   If you are extraordinaire with computers, the Lord has prepared you to help with websites and computer issues for others (and maybe even the church).   If you are in medicine, the Lord has prepared you to help those who cannot afford health care (home and abroad).     If you have the skills of a carpenter, he has called you to share that expertise with those that need it.  The list can go on and on.  God is always preparing us for something now and later.

When I was in undergraduate school I prepared to be an educational director.

The Lord sent me to Ohio to preach for 30 years.   I now do involvement work.  I am convinced that my service in pulpit work prepared me for what I do now.

Hindsight is always 20/20.   It is usually when we are older that we can look back and see how God prepared us for some special ministry.    It is sobering and humbling, too.

More recently I have survived a rare deadly cancer.   God has prepared me to help others going (or about to go) through the same experiences.   My wife and I started a cancer support group.   Last evening we had our largest group meet.  I believe that the Lord is not done with me yet and that He is still preparing me to serve in other ways.

I have lived long enough to see that God is always preparing others and myself for something.   It is usually something bigger than any of us!     Be open to His leading and be sensitive to his preparing you for service even in the difficult times.   I promise you that He is always preparing you for something.  Trav

Discipleship & Involvement

BowlTowelWhat does discipleship have to do with involvement?   Everything!   You see, being a disciple of Jesus involves service (involvement).   Having washed His disciples’ feet, He said, “I have given you an example.”   If we follow that example, we will serve through involvement in the local church.   Jesus said, “I came not to be served, but to serve.”   Once again, if we follow His example, we will serve.   Service is what involvement is all about.   Service is a huge part of what being a disciple of Jesus is all about.

In the Lord’s church we have emphasized everything from church attendance to giving and, have, in my opinion missed the entire boat.   That boat is discipleship.

What is discipleship?  Discipleship is entirely different from (what we term) church membership.   We have tended to elevate church membership above discipleship.   In fact, many churches do not even mention the ‘D’ word.   However, Christians are called disciples in the Bible more often than they are called members.   Membership is a blessing of discipleship; it does not replace or supersede discipleship.

A disciple of Christ is an ever-learning student of Jesus, an imitator of His example in prayer, love for people, selflessness, self-denial, giving, service, obedience, faith in the Father, and suffering.     A disciple is also a follower and a follower follows Jesus.   This simply means we follow His lead and emulate His example.

Back to the original subject of this article.   If you, as leaders of the Lord’s church, want to make disciples (cf. Matt.28:19—as Jesus instructed), you will need to instruct and equip the members of your congregation in being serving disciples.     This is why some church members balk at serving; they did not ‘place membership’ to serve but to be served.   It appears that some of our congregations have a rather large number of members who are not using their God-given blessings to serve the local church and the community.   Why not?   Our failure to disciple them.

How do we change that?   First and foremost, we need to be preaching and teaching the truth about discipleship (and all that it involves) in our congregations. Second, we need to be educating the brethren on how God has designed and gifted them for service.   Third, we should be equipping the saints for service.   Fourth, we need to challenge the thinking of the local church by continual teaching and preaching that discipleship is what God expects and this what we as church leaders expect.   Our most pressing task is to make disciples.

This is why I am so impassioned about church involvement. It is not only a mark of discipleship, it is also a blessing to disciples, the local church and the community.

Dr. Carlus Gupton will be with us speaking on this very topic on January 20 & 21, 2017 at our first “Church Involvement Conference” at Athens church of Christ in Athens, TN.    Information about CIC is found elsewhere on this website giving details of this great event.

Please let me know how I may assist you in making disciples through involvement in your congregation.

Trav

travisirwin@att.net

 

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