“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
In our society today there are fewer people who have any meaningful connection to the church. For many people, the only exposure they will have to Christianity is through a Christian in their family, on their street, at their work, or through their social networks.
Therefore, our evangelism these days can’t just be focussed on the church or by getting people to attend our programs and events. As good as these may be, the place of evangelism will need to be out in the world and not simply within the walls of the church. Perhaps we have enjoyed many years as “come and see” church where we expect people to come and see what we do on Sundays and throughout the week and want to be part of what goes on. But we can’t just adopt this come and see approach as our only method. We need to have a “go and tell” approach if we are to reach contemporary people with the good news of Jesus.
I’ve come to learn this through church planting in Glasgow. As we work to establish a new church, “come and see” isn’t something we’re even able to do - we don’t have a building to call home and we lack the resources to run any quality events! In order to get some traction in the process of starting a new church many of us have discovered that getting a Sunday worship service started is not all there is to it. It could even be said that simply maintaining a service when you’re small easily takes the focus away from mission.
We have, out of necessity, needed everyone to be part of a “go and tell” movement rather than a “come and see” church.
In the book of Acts, this was the normal way the gospel of Jesus Christ spread out to the world. Believers always shared the message of Jesus within their existing relationships (see Acts 10:24; 16:15, 31; 18:8).
This has meant, for us, intentionally cultivating all the existing relationships we have and seeking to build new ones with the people around us. God has placed us where we are to do what we do and as a consequence, we’re already on the mission field every day of the week. We are surrounded by people we love who don’t know Jesus as Saviour. But we don’t love people in order to tell them about Jesus. Rather, we tell them about Jesus in order to love them.
To help us do this in our church plant we categorised people into four main groups: family, friends, colleagues, neighbours. We then thought of two from each group and committed to pray for them and encouraged one other to see ourselves as being sent out to them (some found it helpful to have an A4 page with a large hashtag # to fill in the names of our friends). Of course, we don’t see our connections as projects, but as people, we love and care for who we’d love to come to know Jesus. It’s about seeing our mission not primarily centred on the church but lived out in our everyday lives in the places we live, the work we do and with the people we love.
We have all been sent out by God as missionaries to our families, neighbourhoods, workplaces and social networks. In some cases, we may be the only Christian people know so let’s “go and tell” by bringing the Word of God into connection with those around us.
Generation 19 will take place over the 1st - 10th September. More Info
|Jonathan de Groot
Jonathan has recently begun planting a new reformed and contemporary church in Glasgow with the primary aim of reaching the lost for Christ. Christ Church Glasgow will begin in the North West of Glasgow in 2018.
Jonathan, his wife Sheona and their three children Joshua, Matthew and Rebekah have a love for their new community and are looking forward to seeing God at work in it through this new congregation.