In my daily devotion recently I was struck by these words:
John Wesley used to say to his preachers: "You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go always, not only to those that want you, but to those that want you most."
Wesley started with the refined elite in the tall steeple churches but soon found himself out in the undignified fields with unsophisticated coal miners. Could this be one of the signs of where the Holy Spirit is working—those that want you the most? Be on the lookout for those people who are eager to "continue in the grace of God." That's where the Spirit is working.
It made me start asking the question, Who wants us most? In the church too often we start with the ones we want—youth, young families, children; those with deeper pockets, people with connections. We look for those who will help us build up the church. But who wants us most? Who are the people who are desperate for God?
We have an opportunity this month to check out a new way of reaching out in our community. The people of Spirit & Truth will be in Tulsa for a training event at a local United Methodist church on Saturday, September 14th, 12:00—3:00 p.m. We have been invited to sit in, to ask our questions, to observe the process.
As I have mentioned before, Spirit & Truth works with United Methodist Churches to equip the church for evangelism and discipleship. Their process is simple: small groups go out from the church into the community to pray with people in public places. For discipleship, people are invited into small groups for prayer and encouragement.
Thinking about their process, it seems to me that they are calling the Church to go out to those who want us most. The whole process is bathed and steeped in prayer. The people who go out to pray with the community ask for the Lord to guide them to the people who need prayer. And time and again they are led to people who deeply need to know the love of God.
Because this kind of outreach is so covered and filled with prayer, it becomes an exercise in trust. We trust that God will give us the words we need to speak, the courage to speak them, and the ability to really listen to the people we meet. We trust that God is leading, that he is already working in the lives of the people we meet. As my devotional said, Could this be one of the signs of where the Holy Spirit is working—those that want you the most?
So, who do you know that needs to know the good news? What people do you see in our community who need to meet God? Where do you think the Spirit is leading us? Who, do you think, needs us the most?
I will be participating in the Spirit & Truth training in Tulsa on Saturday, September 14th and I am inviting you to join me. Bring your questions, your concerns, your worries, and your hopes about the process. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if you will join me or if you have any questions.