Adult Team Blog

Discipling for Christ

Christ discipled those who followed Him and they learned from Him how to make disciples of others. He taught them how to have a missions lifestyle.

Who are the people you remember discipling you? I remember my Girls’ Auxiliary (now Girls in Action) leader and the WMU director from the church where I grew up. The missions education I received from them has expanded for decades and resulted in me starting an Acteens program at my current church.

For others, it also began with missions education as a child. At a recent state WMU meeting, my pastor recalled his Sunbeams (now Mission Friends) and Royal Ambassadors leaders and how they inspired his life. At another church in my city, I have a friend who has been a RA leader for more than 50 years.

TEACHING CHILDREN TO SHARE JESUS IN A POSTMODERN WORLD

“Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee. They went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him. But some still had their doubts. Then Jesus came to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end’” (Matthew 28:16–20).

The Great Commission. As Christians, this is what we are commanded to do—share the truth of God with the world. But this is not always easy to do in today’s postmodern society, especially for children.

From the friends they interact with at school to the messages constantly bombarding them through various modes of entertainment (TV, movies, radio, social media), children are extremely vulnerable to the postmodern belief that “anything goes.” After all, today’s children are postmoderns living in a post-Christian world. This is all they have ever known.

Layering Missions Education

You may think missions education is only for children, but my introduction came as an adult. Robin Janney, our church WMU Director, saw herself as someone who opened doors for everyone to learn about and engage in missions.

Relationships

Friends, family, and other relationships bring memories, fun, blessing, confusion, and challenges. And sometimes they are just plain hard . . . but needed.

Relationship is God’s chosen way to relate to us, and His design for how we relate to one another. Sometimes, especially as leaders, we are tempted to think that we don’t need deeper relationships. Sometimes we find ourselves out in front, with others following at a distance. But is this the best or only way? And how can we share with others? How can we be open for new relationships?

I love the fact that Jesus lived with His disciples. His call to leadership development was to “come” (Matt. 4:19). He invited others to walk with Him. He even let little children come to Him (Mark 10:13–16).

Paul shared his life with those he ministered to (1 Thess. 2:8). Some of Paul’s friends and co-laborers in ministry were people he had worked with as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3).

Someone You Raise

“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”—Andy Stanley

When we think about missions, we often define it as traveling to a foreign country to tell people about Jesus. We equate “missions” with “going” and the idea of being sent to another place.

As moms, we can be tempted to look with envy at the young or single woman who serves on the missions field in a foreign country, thinking her work for the kingdom of God is more noteworthy or impactful than our service in the home. We glamorize the missionary’s life as more important to the spread of the gospel than our daily work in the doldrums of diapers and dirty laundry.

Making Friends

Holding a baby that could easily be a Gerber model, Jill and I struck up a conversation next to our apartment pool. Obviously, the blue-eyed doll she held was the conversation starter, but we talked for a while after about her life and family.

As we talked, Jill told me, “You know, I have never really met any of my neighbors here before,” referring to the apartment community she has lived in for the last 3 years.

My heart soared when she said this, because this is exactly what my husband and I have prayed for in the apartment God has placed us in. That community will flourish and we will have opportunities to share Jesus.

With her confession, I responded, “Well now you know at least one person. We should go for walks sometime.”

There is something about being pursued in friendship as an adult. It’s as if once we all moved past school where we were in a place with a lot of people going the same direction as us, we lost track of how to bridge the divide and make friends with strangers.

Lifestyle of Learning

Have you ever had to reteach yourself how to ride a bike? Probably not. Once you have learned how to ride a bike, you likely have learned it for life.

On the other hand, some things in life require continuing education. For example, my New Year’s resolution was to listen to something in Spanish every day. I have taken Spanish in school for several years, and over time I have greatly improved!

Even though I enjoy learning the language and continue to practice, I know that I will always have room to learn more. I will never say, “I’m done! I understand all the Spanish in the world and don’t need to study anymore.”

Learning about missions is more like my lifelong attempt to learn another language. The learning shouldn’t stop. Our world is constantly changing, and studying missions helps us understand how we can best minister to unbelievers.

“And” Discipleship

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Mark 8:34 NIV).

For the last two years, WMU has focused on Mark 8:34 and the theme All For You: Surrender, Sacrifice, Service. This theme has been a call to all believers to obey Jesus’ radical call to obedience and discipleship.

In Mark 8:34, there are three distinct actions which are reflected in the WMU emphasis. This theme has challenged me to learn that it is not enough to take only one or two of these actions.

In this stage of life, it’s easy to want to do more in the community. Too often I say “yes” to a service opportunity before I truly surrender my will to the Lord.

Sometimes I deny myself halfway, but refuse to take up my cross.

Other times I am tempted to go to the other extreme, surrendering my will, sacrificing my plans, but failing to offer my hands in service.

Love, Laughter, and Lemonade

Invite your friends and their friends to join you for an evening full of laughter and fun. Summer is a perfect time to enjoy our friendships with other women and to build new relationships.

Who? This event is for all women! Focus on inviting nonbelievers and/or unchurched to this casual, nonthreatening get-together.

What? An evening brimming with humorous skits, stand-up comedy, riotous punch lines, and smiles all around.

When? Promote the event through social media as well as other means.

Why? Laughter is beneficial to our health. It can improve our attitudes and relieve stress. Summer offers opportunities for casual interaction and an event filled with humor may attract your unchurched friends.

Prepare Preschoolers for a Postmodern Culture

Our preschool group looked at a photo of the missionary family we studied that month in Mission Friends. We had been learning about this missionary family for a few weeks. I had just finished telling our mission story for the week of how the missionaries tell others about Jesus. One of the 3-year-olds leaned in to look at the picture and asked, “Are they real?” At first, it struck me as an odd question. Of course, they are real. As I thought about it, I realized that this question is indicative of the current times in which photos are altered and what seems to be real may not be the truth.

Searching for reality and truth is part of the postmodern world of which our preschoolers are a part. Preschoolers are growing up with a postmodern worldview that people can determine their own truth. Growing up as postmodernists, preschoolers will also have a much more global worldview than previous generations.

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