I want to invite you to fast and pray with me.
Earlier this week, I was speaking with Heather about the early vision for the work that has become LoveFirst Coast. It was seven years ago and I had just turned 47 – 20 years from retirement. The church I was serving was struggling, and I had discerned a key problem was lack of spiritual maturity. I began praying, thinking, and studying anything I could find on discipleship. As a result, I developed a multiplying strategy that would start small and get us to 60 “deeply surrendered disciples of Jesus” in the matter of a few years. I felt good about that. I decided to apply the same multiplying strategy beyond the church and discovered the impact to be 500,000 twenty years. That got me pretty excited. Based on the math, it seemed doable. I began to imagine renewed churches, vibrant ministries, and the Micah-6-8 impact of a half-million followers of Jesus loving mercy, doing justice, and walking humbly with the Lord.
You may notice that there’s a lot of “me” in that. That was part of the problem in the church, too, no doubt. But God had a surprise for me.
The unmistakable voice of the Lord interrupted my triumphalistic day dream to say, “add a zero.”
Humbled. That’s the only word for it. Add a zero to 60 and you get 600. That would be larger than the church I was serving. Add a zero to the already-crazy sum of 500,000 and you get 5,000,000. Five million deeply surrendered disciples of Jesus? That would be larger than the denomination that ordained me. How could that happen? How could I do that?
Pretty clear, though, isn’t it. Only God could do that!
It’s been seven years. It’s summer. It’s a season for reflecting. If we are on the way to 5,000,000 deeply surrendered disciples, I can’t see it. But I’m content to be in a movement of discipleship and am learning to trust God for the results. We can plant, water, and even harvest, but God causes the growth.
That said, we’ve been faithful. I can count ten folks who are equipped and motivated to make disciples. But it seems like many of our efforts at discipling others hit road blocks. Even though we know a little about helping others “learn from Jesus how to live like Jesus,” it is only the Lord can open up those doors. So borrowing from a pattern I find in scripture, you are invited to join me in humbling ourselves before God to ask to move on the First Coast, to open hearts to being discipled.
Please pray with us.
Lord, we ask that you would move on the First Coast of Florida. We ask that your Spirit would move, that you would open the hearts of the people you place in our path, and lead us to walk with them such that we all learn from Jesus to live like Jesus. To your glory!