At Sunday’s meeting we revised the introductory material from our reference scripture action this week.
Our theme for week 3 is ‘Engaging with Persons of Peace’ and a revelation I received a few years ago whilst reflecting on verses 5 to 9 of Luke 10 was that ‘The Kingdom of God advances primarily through community engagement. One no-name apostle (sent one) engages one person of peace at a time’. I referred to this in its abbreviated form as the description of an equipping process known as ‘Engage to Advance’ (E2A). This equipping process has begun being piloted by the education and training arm of Heartland Ministries (Heartland College) towards being ‘recognised as a group of elective competency units’ within accredited certificate and diploma awards as part of the new Leadership and Management training package.
Just wanted to give you some clarity about the process that we are currently engaged in developing. Now, at Sunday’s meeting we talked about FIVE (5) of the key principles for Kingdom advancement that are found in Luke 10:5-9.
- GO, to a sphere (house) that Jesus SENDS you to, i.e. one that Jesus wants to follow YOU to … (verse 5)
We firstly remembered that the key overall theme in Luke’s gospel and in the Acts seems to be ‘Going’ and ‘Being Sent’ and we felt that not much more needed to be highlighted about that for now.
We then took a moment to think about how primary it is that Jesus sent the 72 to households and specifically not to individual, indiscriminate people. In these writings it was consistently understood that house or household was representative of a people group and as such this process would have far more multiplicative impact for the gospel than any other approach. More than this, it was measurable and able to be followed up in a meaningful way.
Finally with this first key, we reflected on the very real possibility that Jesus was teaching, indeed perhaps re-teaching his followers that the Spirit will lead you to where Jesus will follow because the best and most sustainable and reproducible approach to mission involves carrying and representing God’s presence. It is an incarnational approach and is 100% divine AND 100% human, exactly the heavenly mix that God believed would make the most difference when he sent his only son into the world; ‘The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us’.
We GO where we are SENT so when the divine follows up, the combination is one which looks more like Jesus and engages more authentically with people for the sake of them being cut to the heart and challenged to follow.
Reflection-Action 1 Spend a few moments thinking about the houses on the street where you live, say, the homes within the block where you are situated. Do you think that God has placed you in your particular neighbourhood for a missional purpose? Why? Why not? Whether you answered yes or no, pray for your neighbours and maybe ask God to send workers into this harvest field. Write down any thoughts you have whilst you are praying this way and share these thoughts with someone.
Reflection-Action 2 If you have lived in your neighbourhood for a while, ask yourself the following question. ‘If the kingdom of God came completely to your immediate neighbourhood, what differences would there be in comparison to what is currently true?’ Write down what comes to mind.
Reflection-Action 3 Take 30 minutes or so. Read Luke 9 through and see if you can identify 9 ways during this chapter that the original 12 disciples miss the mark. As you make each discovery, write down whether you think you have made the same mistakes. This is for you to reflect and pray through, so be as specific as you like so you can pray through what you’d like to happen now.
Reflection-Action 4 Now read Luke 10:17-24 and make a note of all the ways Jesus responded to what had happened out in the field when the 72 returned. Ask God why Jesus was so energized by this and write down what he reveals to you. If you have some more time to reflect, maybe ask the question in Reflection-Action 2 of yourself again and see if your answers are any different to what they previously were. Record any differences.