Life On Mission: The power of connection
God has called you on a mission. He has a purpose for you. He is depending on you. It is a mission of life and death, literally. It is about making a difference now and for eternity. In this series, we are looking at key actions that will help us be on mission and form our mission agenda. If you are not in heaven yet, God still has a purpose for you. Embrace it and engage it and make a real difference.
Something To Talk About:
Our mission requires that we seek out people. Our mission requires that we develop relationships with people. We don’t win converts, we don’t win arguments. We connect with people. We authentically love people. Love can only happen as we connect with people. As friends we have an opportunity to be a witness and show others an amazing Jesus.
Connecting to the unconnected:
- Jesus spent a lot of His time connecting, and He wasn’t connecting in church groups. He wasn’t connecting just with His disciples. He was connecting with the sinners and the tax collectors. Jesus spent a lot, maybe most of His time, with people who were far away from God. The religious people of His day were talking about Jesus because He was connecting to people that didn’t have God.
- Today, Christians hang out today with other Christians. Statistics indicate that the average Christian, once they’ve been a Christian for seven years, doesn’t really even have any non-Christian friends anymore.
- If you’re a disciple of Jesus, who is it that you’re trying to be like? Who are you supposed to be like? The answer is always “Jesus.” You’re supposed to be like Jesus. What did Jesus do? Jesus hung out with people who weren’t church people. That’s a part of discipleship.
- Hanging around sinners can be messy. But Jesus told us to be salt and light. Salt does no good unless it’s applied. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13) Salt does not do any good sitting in the shaker. In the same vein, light does no good unless it’s shining in the darkness. “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:15) You can’t do any good until you connect with the people that are already in your life. They’re already your neighbors. They’re already around you, and they might need Jesus.
- So it’s about relationship, about the relationship. Somebody knocks on your door Saturday morning. Are you happy about it? No. Nobody wants to talk to a salesman that they don’t know and have them try to sell them something. If somebody is delivering my pizza, I’m glad for the knock at the door, but past that, I’m not. We need to connect to people in the form of relationships.
- Be consistent and patient. You’ll likely need to commit for the long haul. They’ll be inclined to research and review anything you tell them. They’re looking for a genuine experience, but you’ll need to convince them of the truthfulness and the relevance of Christianity. Consistency and patience will be non-negotiable.
- Is it alright to have close relationships with non-believers? Why or why not?
- When you hear or overhear unbelievers talking about their hopes and dreams, what kind of vision do they express? If you never hear them talking in those terms, what does that suggest to you?
- What are some ways that you’ve experienced God’s love and kindness through the acts of another person?
- How does the way you see Jesus and yourself impact the way you view others? Where does our tendency to look down on others come from? Why is it so tempting to think we are better than others?
- Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. We, like Jesus, need to be intentional about trying to connect with those who likely won’t set foot in our churches: Agree or disagree and why.
- Where in your life are you connected with others, such that you could influence them by your faith? What keeps you or others from talking about God or sharing the Gospel?
- Which of the following most accurately describes your view on sharing your faith? (a) It makes me nervous or uncomfortable. It feels like an imposition, so I avoid talking about it. (b) I’ll answer questions if someone asks, but I don’t bring it up. (c) I try to talk about it on occasion when I think it is appropriate. (d) I evangelize regularly and talk to strangers about God regularly.
- Jesus calls us to be salt and light. How do you think this applies to your life?
- In order to introduce people to Jesus, we have to genuinely love them – we need to make them not just friends but family. What steps are you taking (or do you want to take) to love people in this way?
- What are the most important parts of your story which you might share to reflect your faith and to attract others to want to deepen their faith/their experience with God?
- In this message, what truths landed upon you that you need to share with others in your life? How can you share these truths?
- What will you change this week as a result of this message?
Take one thing home with you
Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” There really is a sweetness and beauty about the character of Jesus, whom we love and serve. I pray that, like Him, we would be compassionate, tenderhearted, humble-minded, and loving this week, especially as we work to help the whole world find and follow Jesus.