Ignite Passion in Your Church through Discipleship Images
- Friday, July 01, 2005
Vast numbers of young adults in our postmodern society are unchurched. And unlike past generations, many of them have never set foot in a church and lack even the most basic understanding of the Bible.
Traditional ways churches have reached out simply don't work with today's emerging generations. But this visually oriented group of people does respond to images. Media like the Internet, movies, and television successfully use images to tell stories to young adults. As Christians, we have the greatest story of all to tell. If we can use images to convey concepts of the faith, we can ignite passion in emerging generations.
Here's how you can use the images of familiar shapes to disciple people:
The circle helps you identify the significant events of your life in a way that enables you to move deeper in the direction of God's will. "Kairos" moments occur when God breaks into your circumstances when an event that transforms you. Those moments are God-given opportunities to enter into the ongoing process of learning more about how to live for Him. God hopes you will respond to kairos moments by repenting and believing. The first half of the circle represents the steps involved in repenting (honestly observe your thoughts and feelings about what happened, reflect on why you reacted to the event as you did, and discuss your observations with trustworthy friends who will pray with you). The second half of the circle represents the steps involved in believing that inner change is possible for you (make a plan to lead to change, have someone hold you accountable to that plan, and put the plan into action). Just like a circle, your life is a series of loops held together by time. Each time you go around a loop, you can seek to grow more in spiritual maturity.
You can rediscover the rhythm of life your Creator, God, intended for you in the principles of the semi-circle. The semi-circle illustrates how there is an important balance between work and rest. Remember that you're a human being, not a human doing. Realize that in order to be productive in your work, you must make enough time to rest. Understand that, just like a pendulum swinging back and forth, you should abide (rest) in Christ, go forth to bear fruit, then allow yourself to be pruned back and enter another time of abiding. Realize that, just as in nature, growth must happen in your life you can produce fruit - and growth comes only from abiding.
Three dimensions are necessary for you to live a balanced life. You find these dimensions clearly explained in the triangle. Model the way Jesus lived His life: Up (in relationship with His Father in heaven), In (in friendship with His chosen followers), and Out (reaching out to the hurting world around Him). Your church can live upwardly by proclaiming the Word in prayer and worship. Your congregation can live inwardly by building community, listening, and responding to the needs of those committed to your church. Your church can live outwardly by taking the Gospel to the world outside your church building. You can also implement the concepts of the triangle in your own life by thinking of them in terms of the verse, "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly [out] and to love mercy [in] and to walk humbly with your God [up]" (Micah 6:8). Strive for a balance between all three dimensions, because when one is missing or suppressed, the other two don't work as they should.
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