Speaking a language that didn't even exist when Jesus walked the earth...
The Synergy Leadership Training Event from a few Saturdays ago provided a lot of really challenging and exciting insights. The biggest one for me is something so simple that it seems obvious...yet the implications for our church and our community are huge!
In Matthew 28 the resurrected Jesus tells His followers "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” I've heard this verse many times but only recently did I really make the connection that Jesus tells them what to do [make disciples] and how to do it [teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.]
Sounds simple - right? But the challenge comes in the "observe" part of that command. Jesus doesn't just want us to know His teachings...he wants us to put them into practice. That is what it means to be a disciple.
This is not a cold legalistic approach to salvation that says "You must do X, Y and Z to be saved." Rather, it is the natural response of a truly grateful heart to the One who died a sinner's death in our place. When we accept Him as Lord we give up our right to our own selfish desires. To say "Jesus is my Lord...but I still pretty much do whatever I want" doesn't quite ring true.
Our goal is that everyone connected with Riverside will learn the basics of living as a disciple of Jesus Christ and we will apply them to our lives. In turn, we will teach others what we have learned, and they will teach others, and so forth...so that it spreads exponentially throughout our community and our world.
Here is an encouraging thought. Outside of Jerusalem, two thousand years ago, Jesus instructed His disciples on how to make disciples. Today, in a land that was undiscovered at the time, speaking a language that didn't even exist when Jesus walked the earth, we are living as His disciples... all because of the faithfulness of those first disciples to fulfill His command through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What if someone came up to you right now and said, "I think I am ready to give my life to Jesus...what do I do now?"
At the Synergy meeting we discussed this scenario and the honest answer from many of the people there was "Come to church with me and I'll introduce you to my Pastor."
While we LOVE helping people come to know Jesus and walk as His disciples, we don't want this ministry to be the exclusive work of our paid staff. The command in Matthew 28 applies to all of us. Our vision is for Riverside to be a church full of disciples who make disciples who make disciples. This is what gets us really excited and you will be hearing a lot more about it in the weeks and months to come...