This Wednesday (April 29, 2015) instead of our typical gathering to study at the Patriarch Project office, we will be meeting at a local restaurant to enjoy a time of fellowship and share a meal. Most importantly, we will be sharing our lives with the owner of the restaurant and his staff. Why?
Starting any new business is difficult. In the first year especially, it is a lonely struggle to attract your customers, provide products and services for their needs, and work out the ‘kinks’ along the way. The job description for an entrepreneur reads fairly simply…a little knowledge about your industry combined with a lot of hard work. Most of us never think about what it takes to serve good food at a price we are willing to pay.
What would it mean to a struggling restaurant owner to have a group of folks show up for dinner and order lots of food, have a great time, tip over the top, and let him and his staff know how much they appreciate the restaurant being a part of the community? Well, Wednesday night we are going to find out. For that’s exactly what we are going to do.
So are we saying it’s a party or evangelism? It is simply another dining out experience or proclaiming the Gospel? YES! I can promise you there won’t be any soapboxes or Bible thumping. We haven’t purchased a box containing an evangelism kit or learned a method or memorized a script to lead someone to the Lord. If everything in life should bring glory to God, and we believe that is true, then there is no such thing as a wall in life that separates sacred from secular. As a matter of fact, if all of life is all for Jesus, then there is no such thing as secular. If the Gospel truly applies to ALL of life, eating in a restaurant has no different purpose than going to Bible study.
When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20), one can’t see it as a simple act of handing out Gospel tracts or knocking on a stranger’s door and asking a question. The Great Commission looks more like a life long relationship. After all, Jesus said to ‘baptize’ these disciples. As a pastor I’ve baptized a number of people. By the time we arrived at the baptismal event I knew them fairly well. After all, one must spend a fair amount of time together in the Word of God to teach the why’s and how’s of baptism. But the disciple making process in the Great Commission does’t stop at baptism. Jesus also said , “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”. This sounds to me like making disciples includes a lot of training. How long does it take to learn to observe all that Jesus in His Word commands? I would say a lifetime. Living a Gospel life must include intentional relationship building.
Of course, salvation is God’s work. We don’t ‘save’ anyone. However, He chooses to include us in the process. (That’s the disciple making part) If Christians are asked to define what it is to make disciples, I wonder what their answer would be. Since Jesus gave us the command to make disciples, I think it would be wise to live a disciple making life. One of the best definitions of a disciple maker’s role in life I have ever heard is this: to know that all of life is all for Jesus, and to constantly create a space in every relationship for the Holy Spirit to work.
In a very real way, that’s what I pray happens at the dinner table Wednesday night. As we enter the restaurant we will not see ourselves as demanding consumers. Wednesday night, and every night, we will see ourselves as disciple makers, demanded by our King to share His love.