As I bring ministry to a close at HBC, we’re following a series exploring disciplines that shape the life of the church in the world in a way we can carry and proclaim his presence in the world. I prepared this simple hand out for the church to reflect on which may be helpful to some.
Jesus trains up his disciples for the practical work of mission and sharing the gospel. In Luke 9 we see he sends out the 12 disciples. Hands-on training for his key soon-to-be movement leaders. In Luke 10, he sends out the 72 on a very similar mission. By the time we get to the day of the ascension of Jesus, Matthew 28 gives the command to all of the disciples to live on this same mission. So, how does Jesus’ insight help us with our own task?
1. PRAY (Luke 10: 1 – 2)
All of Jesus disciples, regardless of circumstance, can engage in this first principle: pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers. We need to pray that God will raise up the church to bear witness to his name.
2. EXPECT SOME OPPOSITION (Luke 10: 3)
Jesus expects that, as people opposed him, they would be opposed. The good news is good news to those whose hearts are ready, but an insult to those who are self-sufficient. We need to toughen up and be prepared.
3. GO SIMPLY (Luke 10: 4)
Many turn the simple work of the gospel into a multi-thousand pound enterprise. Jesus tells the disciples to go simply. This is, firstly, a reminder that as they go they will be guests to people, not hosts. Secondly, it is a reminder that we have a people centred gospel – it’s all about relationships.
4. SEEK THE PERSON OF PEACE (Luke 10: 5 – 6)
Jesus is saying that the Spirit will have prepared people to hear the message. Seek after them – don’t be too disheartened or distracted by those who are not in the place to hear. Pray! A person of peace can open up opportunities to particular groups of people, families or places, so the gospel can often be spread to more than one person. Note it is a household that Jesus instructs the disciples to engage.
5. LONG TERM VIEW (Luke 10: 7 – 8)
Note, again, that those who share the message are guests. Mission happens on the turf and terms of those who are receiving. We are so bent on an invitational mode that this can be a challenge for us to know how to ‘go’. Where are the places God might be sending you to go to build up relationships on the long term, eating and drinking as you go?
6. IT’S GOD’S MISSION (Luke 10: 16)
Don’t take rejection personally. The gospel can be a hard pill to swallow. Those rejecting you will be rejecting Jesus and His Father who sent him. We are but the messengers. Out invitation is to keep heart and move on with grace.
Questions to consider
1. Could you set an alarm on your phone at 10:02 (mirroring the verse numbers) to remind you to pray to the Lord of the Harvest about the harvest field and home and abroad?
2. Do you feel equipped to be able to speak for the Lord? Could you explain the gospel to someone who’d never heard it? Could you lead someone through a confession of faith and help them have a ‘good birth’?
3. Are there people in your life who may be ‘people of peace’ – people who would be open to hearing from you? If not, how can you move into places where this is a possibility?
4. If you are really unable to engage person–to–person, are there other ways you can work? Could you increase your giving to enable mission? Could you put pen to paper or use your social media creatively?
5. Reflect on what it is that stops you taking the steps in sharing faith. Having identified them, what steps might you take to over come them? You might like to speak to a pastor or other trusted leader who could guide you.