The church must UNITE in the focus of mission and the Gospel. This is an incredible priority of Jesus Himself (the Head of the Church) in His prayer found in John 17. I can’t get this prayer out of my mind – so I’m praying it with Him. And I’m praying more boldly and more loudly for this than ever before. And you should be, as well.
Why? Well, look around you. I don’t know where you live and worship, but as a church – none of us are the same as we were 10 years ago. We’re not the same leaders, we’re not the same church, we’re not in the same community. Truthfully, we’re not even in the same country. Everything has changed around us. Our culture is more divided, more racist, more hostile and more hate-filled than at any other time in recent memory.
And the church? For the most part, we’re still fooling around. If we’re just as broken and fragmented as the world, do we really think anyone cares what our message is? Or that we can make a difference? So Jesus prays, “…that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that you sent Me, and loved them…” John 17:22-23
Stop. Read those words again! Read that prayer one more time. HE wants US to be as united as GOD is. As a friend of mine once said, “Is there any disagreement among the Godhead?” Jesus prays for us to be one in that same way.
Rick Renner says that, “…unity comes when people are united in action and in passion for a common cause. Their shared goal is so strong that it removes hostilities, puts away disagreements, and gives previously divided people a reason to take their place alongside each other. When this occurs, different gifts, talents, and anointings become connected together, and the result is an amazing river of divine power that achieves the supernatural and accomplishes the impossible.” I agree.
Pentecost is proof of this. So much diversity, so much lack of focus and confusion – all brought together by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel. Those two things were happening at Pentecost. The Spirit and the Gospel.
How does this happen today? 1) God’s people learn to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. 2) We learn to focus on the Gospel. That’s it. Those two huge divine priorities will take over the rest of our little agendas, but it will require a deep level of prayer, discipline and sacrifice.
I love the fact that I am called to pastor a church that is increasingly and incredibly diverse! I love looking around us and seeing people of every background, race, language (some 40 nationalities represented every week) at First Euless. It’s powerful to see how we put teams together for ministry, for the Gospel, for prayer – and they are as diverse as our community is. God is up to something huge.
But it counts for nothing if we’re not filled with the Spirit and focused on the Gospel.
And if we are filled and focused? That is the church united that Jesus is praying for. That is the church the world needs.
I’ve ENJOYED working in 2014 to help our church learn to share their faith personally and practically. I LOVE that more than 500 people have come to gain a new confidence and boldness in this area, and I’m praying for about 1000 more to come through “Can We Talk?” in 2015 in our church alone.
But what’s the “end game” of “Can We Talk?” It’s this – that you share the Gospel in your everyday life. That you become a Gospel-centered person who thinks about the amazing message they’ve first experienced and then been equipped to share. It’s that you become a witness in the hands of the Holy Spirit, moved about by Sovereignty to step into a conversation that is so seldom had – a conversation about Christ.
Witnessing is not just saying a good word about the Lord. It’s not just bringing Jesus’ Name up in conversation, although that can be be both difficult and powerful. It is not just saying, “well, I believe this stuff.”
Witnessing is sharing a clear and complete picture of the Gospel – that Jesus died on the cross, rose again – and why He did that.
So, you’re trained. Now what? What do you do with it? Three things:
1) Intercede like never before. Pray for your family, your friends and co-workers, and those “random” people who come through life daily.
2) Invest in them. Have a conversation with them about…well, them! Spend a little time getting to know them, or getting updated on their lives.
3) Invite them to a spiritual conversation. “Can we talk about spiritual things?” That’s a great question, and few turn me down when I ask it. And when they allow me, I make sure I never turn down the open door. I’m ready – and so are you. Do it! Invite them to your home. Invite them to church. Invite them into your LIFE – all all time remembering you’re trained to be an effective witness for Christ.
When we do this – we are literally (literally!) obeying the first steps of the Great Commission. And when we do, the power of the Holy Spirit is upon us!
This is an anonymous guest blog from a friend who has seen God provide in a great way for a mission trip. He’s Faithful!
“I want to tell people what a great God we serve and how when He says He is going to provide He does. I only need $400 left to earn for my trip. The gifts of three people got me there. God gives bigger than we can ask or imagine.
I want to tell people the struggle in my soul that I can’t be that cool person who is going on a mission trip and blogs about it. I can’t have the cool go fund me account and get to give God all the glory, but that I know it’s okay, because that is only affirmation of man. And He still gets all the glory when I get on my face and thank Him.
I want to tell people how insanely overwhelmed I feel about this trip. How giddy I feel that God has called me to go to a place that I know will be hard in so many ways. I am giddy to be on the other side of the group that goes to the airport. Instead of writing the cards and praying over people, I am the one with the packed suitcase getting on the plane. It makes me want to jump for joy and cry all at the same time. Because this is so foreign to me that I just can’t understand it all.
I want to tell people how God has insanely blessed me by putting some of my most favorite people in the world on the same team. That He keeps affirming me and speaking to me and telling me to trust Him when it doesn’t make any sense.
I want to tell the people that keep freaking out about this trip to quit freaking out and just trust Him. That it’s really true that if God wants you to go He will provide every way. I trust that my visa will work out and that the money will come in because I know without a doubt the Lord has prompted me to go.
There is my garble for today. God is good and I just can’t stand not talking about it.”
And I say, “AMEN!”
“Can We Talk?” is a great story. I knew in advance that I was about to live something out. I just wasn’t sure what it was.
In 2013, After being asked to preach the 2014 Convention Message of my denomination – a great and humbling honor, I began to pray about what I was to share. The Lord spoke to me in a powerful way. As Adrian Rogers used to say, “It wasn’t audible, it was LOUDER.” It was, “You will live this.” And then, you can preach it.
Coupling a deep concern that our church wasn’t doing enough to impact our community with the Gospel, along with a glaring conviction that I was not obeying Paul’s admonition to Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist,” (2 Tim 4:5) I was led to plunge in. Taking what had become my “go-to” form of sharing the Gospel, I felt I should name it, print it and begin equipping our people in it.
In September of 2013, we began to pray for five teams and launched “Can We Talk?” in a six-week gospel-equipping format at First Euless. Within 9 months, after hours of prayer, sharing and writing, we had a huge group of 90 teams that were weekly visiting homes in our community and sharing Christ. We saw 1600 people reached with the Gospel and approximately 300 people professed Christ. Pastors from other churches and denominational leaders began to see what God was doing at First Euless though “Can We Talk?”. The dedication and zeal from our people at First Euless was incredible. Our staff led the way – as great leaders do! We saw our church culture begin to change, and our already strong discipleship DNA began to be balanced with both evangelism and discipleship.
By the time the convention message date arrived in June of 2014, I was ready to tell the story.
The response has been overwhelming. Pastors began to ask how they could implement “Can We Talk?” in their church, and I began to pray further about what God would have me do. I soon requested that our church grant me the privilege of starting a non-profit ministry that could serve as a vehicle to “challenge and equip pastors to lead and equip people to share the Gospel in their everyday context.” Following our church guidelines, the committee overseeing this area granted unanimous agreement, and at a subsequent business meeting, the church affirmed unanimously for this to take place. What a great sense of affirmation and zeal!
One Conversation, Inc. is the organization, and “Can We Talk?” is the resource used to train pastors. You can see more about what this looks like at First Euless (click here) and join us in sharing your faith, or learn more as a pastor through the “Can We Talk?” resource tab. So many of our church members came alongside me in setting up this new organization, and so much time and effort has been invested; it’s amazing. One of them said, “Pastor, we’re helping you set this up because we believe in what you’re doing and we want to help you do this AND continue pastoring our church!” It’s an incredible blessing!
My prayer is that “Can We Talk?” will begin to launch in churches all over the state of Texas and beyond. The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention asked us to train 1000 pastors in 2015, 2016, and 2017. We’ve begun leading conferences to do just that. The goal is to reach 1 million households in Texas with the Gospel. See the conference schedule here: oneconversation.org. Additional conferences are being discussed in various states across America now. It’s time to mobilize the Gospel!
For years, churches have worked hard to become great disciplers and teachers of believers – and that’s a great thing! However, most churches have absolutely no plan to equip their people to take the Gospel into the community, where people who need Christ actually live. We are increasingly ineffective and God-consciousness in America is at an all-time low. It’s time to get into the fields with the Gospel and with pastors leading the way, we can experience a revival of obedience.
Pray for “One Conversation” and “Can We Talk?” Pray for God to raise up thousands of laborers for the Gospel and thousands of churches to become gospel-centered in that the entire church is both equipped and active in sharing Christ. That’s the vision of Christ Himself.
You can reach “One Conversation, Inc.” through this website, or you may write us at:
“One Conversation, Inc.”
P.O. Box 157,
Euless, TX 76039
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.