Living what you preach

July 2, 2019

Christ’s disciple-making always had an invitational aspect to it. There’s a story in the gospels where the guys are out fishing and Jesus comes by and says, “Follow me. I’ll make you fishers of men.” Jesus walks up to these guys and invites them to literally follow Him — He’s going to transform their lives.

I was sitting in my church office one day, looking out the window. I sat there and wept as the Spirit of God convicted me that I was spending all of my time in the church and none of my time outside the church where there were lost people. I looked down at my calendar and said, “This absolutely must change in my life.”

I knew that at our next leadership meeting I needed to share with our leaders how the Lord had convicted me. I told them I needed to make some changes in my life — I needed to rearrange my priorities and to be in places where I could meet people far from God.

Pastors, it will absolutely rock your world when you recognize that you’ve got to make a point to get out of the church building and into the world.

Pastors, it will absolutely rock your world when you recognize that you’ve got to make a point to get out of the church building and into the world.

Outside the church building
I realized that if I was going to be invitational in my own disciple-making, I needed to understand where the people in our community gathered. In the area where I lived, people were crazy about sports. We had baseball, basketball, football, cheerleading and everything else. People naturally gather around sports. At the time, my son played baseball and I said, “OK, that’s where I need to be.” I needed to build relationships with other fathers who were there, so I asked the Lord to show me which of these other men to invite on a discipleship journey with me.

I also realized that baseball fields weren’t the only venue to make disciples. There was an older gentleman I used to have breakfast with, and I was able to share Christ with him. One morning I stopped in for coffee. He called me over to his table and said, “Preacher, you’re not going to believe this. Two weeks ago, I accepted the Lord on Sunday morning and was baptized that night.”

I said, “Man, that’s awesome!”

He replied, “You know, I own this dirt racetrack and the Lord has told me to use that track as a way to reach people with the gospel. I need a chaplain at my dirt track to help do that. I want you to think about being that chaplain.”

Take advantage of opportunities
Unfortunately, I responded something like, “You know, I’ll pray about it.” I walked out, got in my car and thought, “You’ve been praying about making disciples. Here is an opportunity, but you haven’t accepted it yet.” I walked back in and said, “I’m your man. I’m in.” For the next three or four years, I was at dirt track races on many Saturday nights. We had a great ministry there and built great relationships!

Think about where the people in your community gather. Where can you be most effective — the ballpark, the gym or maybe a local book club? I believe that if you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone, He will send discipleship opportunities your way.


by Sandy Marks  
Church Health and Revitalization  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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