Balancing Fellowship And Mission

Balancing Fellowship and MissionI love the close, loving fellowship of my simple church. We take time to be together eating and laughing and sharing life. But this fellowship can create the danger of neglecting to reach out to those who are not part of the body of Christ. We can get so snug and comfortable that we forget the mission of Christ – redeeming and restoring that which is lost.

Each week the good folks over at House2House publish an article or story that is relevant to those involved in simple church. They recently posted Are we Eating with the Right People? Thoughts from 1 Corinthians 5 by Jon Zens. The article deals with what the author calls the “doctrine of ‘separation’” which he says seems to have been “translated into church practices which flatly contradict both the example of Jesus and the teaching of Paul in l Cor. 5:9-13.”

Let me try to summarize three ways Jon believes we miss the truth of balancing our lives between fellowship and mission:

  1. We miss the truth when we believe we should have nothing to do with unbelievers.
  2. We miss the truth when we seek to separate ourselves from the world and yet openly fellowship with deliberately sinful believers.
  3. We miss the truth when we condemn those outside the church building but do not go and to minister to them.

I agree with his points and summation that “we will not change this perverted image of the church until we become a compassionate people who will step out of our comfortable edifices and reach out to the needy.”

I want to suggest at least four ways we can balance our fellowship with believers with the mission of reaching out to those who need the very fellowship we claim:

What are some ways you and your small group, cell group or simple church practices living in proximity to those who need the Savior?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Related Posts:

Will You Jump?

William Booth (1829-1912) was originally a Methodist pastor in England who became the founder of the Salvation Army. His work was outside of the established church among those many considered “irredeemable.” He went to the the poorest and most needy seeking the “forgotten and forsaken.”

Get your coffee ready and watch Who Cares based on an original work by Booth and edited into contemporary English by Keith Green.

You can also view the video here.

“Look for yourselves. The surging sea of life, crowded with perishing souls rolls up to the very spot on which you stand… Jesus Christ, the Son of God,  is in the midst of the dying multitude, struggling to save them. And He is calling you to jump into the sea – to go right away to His side and help Him in the holy strife. Will you jump?”

“My comrades, you are rescued from the waters; you are on the rock. He is in the dark sea, calling on you to come to Him and help Him. Will you go?”

– William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

Jump! Go!

Grace and Peace,

Terry

9 Short Evangelism Prayers For Yourself

We have several options when we consider sharing our faith with others:

  • Do nothing (that would be inconsistent with our mission)
  • Try to share in our own strength (that is a recipe for failure)
  • Ask God to do in and through us what we cannot do in our own power (this should get the job done)

Sometimes we hesitate to pray for ourselves. Maybe we feel guilty asking for things. Perhaps the problem is that we try to do things on our own rather than in the power of God’s spirit.

Peter Wagner, in On The Crest Of The Wave page 123, writes

    “…all the carefully planned mission strategy in the world will be of no avail unless it is activated by divine power. According to our records, the very last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He left this earth were: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I have found the following 9 short prayers helpful in keeping me focused on the ministry of reconciliation.

  1. Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit and the power he gives to be a witness to those in my circle of influence. (Acts 1:8)
  2. Lord of the harvest, open my eyes that I might see the ripe harvest around me. (John 4:35)
  3. Jesus, let others see your transforming power in me as a sign that you can transform anyone. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
  4. Master, break my heart for those in my circle of influence who do not know you. (Romans 9:1-3)
  5. Father, fill my mouth with words that I might boldly share the mystery of the Good News. (Ephesians 6:19-20)
  6. Jesus, thank you for choosing me to bear fruit. Give me a bountiful harvest. (John 15:16)
  7. Lord, may others see you in my life and be drawn to you. (Acts 16:16-34)
  8. Father, open doors of opportunity for me to share your message and may I share it clearly (Colossians 4:2-4)
  9. Jesus, it is my desire to join you on your mission of seeking and saving that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)

Pray these prayers for yourself. Find a partner and pray them for each other.

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Simple Prayers for ReconciliationIt is not enough to simply establish friendships with people who need to find a relationship with Jesus. If we are to be effective as reconcilers, we must find our power in the practice of intercessory prayer.

Below are 5 scripture prayers you can pray for those who have not yet chosen to follow Christ:

  1. Lord, pierce the hearts of those who need to find the forgiveness of sin that you offer and bring them to repentance. (Acts 2:37-38)
  2. Father, open  hearts so that people will respond to your message of good news. (Acts 16:14)
  3. Holy Spirit, thank you for convicting people of sin that they might turn and believe in the Son, Jesus Christ. (John 16:7-11)
  4. Lord, give sight to those who cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Loose their minds from the god of this age. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
  5. Master of the harvest, bring laborers into your fields to reap the harvest. (Matthew 9:38)

Take some time right now and pray. It will only take you a minute to go back and really focus on praying these scripture verses. Come back often and pray the list or print it off and carry it with you throughout the day.

Ask God to give you names from those in your circle of influence to put in place of the pronouns so you can pray for specific people.

Grace and Peace,

Terry