I’m a big advocate for giving through the local church. Beyond that, I try and support other causes and ministries that are important to me. With our giving we can build wells for people without water, we can advocate for modern day slaves, we can feed hungry children, we can translate the Bible, etc.
But there’s one group of people that need our faithful support even more than others. They need it because they are the ones who are building the wells, rescuing slaves, and translating the Bible. They are the ones who are sharing the gospel with those who have not heard.
Who am I talking about? Missionaries.
I’ve been thinking about the benefits of sponsoring missionaries recently because I’ve been sending out some fundraising letters of my own. I’m a church planter in Queens and I rely on the prayers and gifts of others to bring the gospel to a place that has very few gospel-centered churches.
As William Carey said to his financial supporters, “I’ll go down into the mine, if you’ll hold the ropes.”
But what’s in it for those who give? What’s in it for those who hold the ropes?
Preaching is under attack.
Many have already abandoned preaching for newer, more trendy methods. Others have decided that Jesus and the apostles never preached the way we preach today. Still others have problems with authority. Finally, there are some who simply have never heard a good sermon or have never delivered one themselves and have concluded that sermons are ineffective in the church.
Some have not only abandoned preaching but have made it their mission to preach an anti-preaching message. They constantly oppose the straw man preacher who hides behind a pulpit and delivers a boring 30 minute monologue to a disinterested congregation.
This assault on preaching leads us to carefully consider the following questions:
What is the goal of preaching?”
“Is preaching still a helpful means of making disciples?”
“What are the features of a disciple making sermon?”
“How do we respond to those who have abandoned preaching?”
There are tons of theories out there on how to structure small groups, the ideal number of members, and what sorts of content the members should engage in. However, something that is often overlooked in these discussions is what it will take to reproduce in a healthy way. If the goal is to reproduce disciples, small groups, and ultimately churches, then what is it going to take to move 8 to 10 people from mere acquaintances to spiritual warriors on a mission together? What will it take for one group of warriors to become two groups?
There are at least four qualities that these small groups must possess if they are going to reproduce in a healthy way.
1. Healthy Small Groups Establish Trust
Trust must be established early on in the life of the group. Some churches throw random people together in a group. Others let groups form on their own. Others have a sort of speed dating type event to get people connected into groups. Some methods are more effective than others and this post isn’t about the pros and cons of each.
If you are in Alabama and want to connect (or reconnect) I’d love to see you at this event. I’ll be discussing our vision to make disciples and multiply churches in Queens.
Date: June 20, 2012
Time: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Event: Hartselle Camp Meeting
Topic: Making Disciples in NYC – The Challenge and the Mission
Location: Click here for directions.
More Info: Contact Rob Cain 205.556.0291
Click here for more information about having me speak at your event.
On the first Friday of the month, I’d like to give you an opportunity to win a great disciple making resource. This month I’m giving away the Discipleship Essentials library from Greg Ogden. Read through to the end to find out how you can win.
This three book set includes Discipleship Essentials, Leadership Essentials, and The Essential Commandment. These resources are great guides for one-on-one or small group disciple making.
About Greg Ogden
Greg Ogden (D.Min., Fuller Theological Seminary) is a writer, speaker and discipleship teacher living in Monterey, California. He was formerly executive pastor of discipleship at Christ Church of Oak Brook in Oak Brook, Illinois. Previously he was academic director of the doctor of ministry program and associate professor of lay equipping and discipleship at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. For twenty-three years he served as a pastor with the Presbyterian Church, USA.
I have a short-list of books that I use in disciple making and mentoring. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by my friend David Platt is at the top of the list.
In fact, Radical is one of those books that needs to be read by every American or Western Christian, whether Protestant or Catholic, evangelical or liberal.
First, some back story: I first met David Platt when he was a doctoral candidate at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the teaching assistant for Dr. Jim Shaddix at the time so he presented a couple of lectures if Dr. Shaddix was absent. We didn’t really know each other then but I remember thinking that he was a gifted teacher.