And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. – Matthew 4:23
As we begin – whether we are in full time ministry or are simply giving what few hours outside our full-time jobs and families we have – it begins with knowing the community and then with choosing your focus. When you look at the rhythms of Jesus life – he goes among the people. Jesus goes where the people are. He goes into homes (Matthew 8:14-17, 9:18-26, 27-30) through cities (Matthew 9:1, 9:9, 11:1) into synagogues (Matthew 9:35, 12:9) and the countryside (Matthew 5:1, 14:13). He knew where people were and the people of the region began to know him. Jesus also has 4 means of relational focus. He spends time alone (Matthew 4:12), with his 3 (Matthew 17:1), with his 12 (Matthew 10:1), and with crowds (Matthew 4:25). We must know who we are focusing on and spend time with them in the day to day rhythms in order to make concrete disciples.
#1. Knowing the community
As Jesus went – we see multiple times he meets the needs of those. While the greater is to meet the spiritual need – in the process we cannot skip over the here and now. As Family of God – we bless those around us. For middle school students and families in your community – do you know their needs? Does a student need someone to sit and watch their game? There is a student in our community who I know, during football season, dad will only stay for one half of the game. And I wait to get the text asking me to take this student home. Part of my role in knowing this is I get to come alongside as Family of God and be present for Him.
Where do students flock during the week? The YMCA? Why do they spend so much time there? Part of my weekly rhythm is partnering with the YMCA – not to run another program but to be a part of these students after-school rhythms. When either mom or dad is still at work or they simply don’t want to go home – they spend hours at the Y. I can list off names of who will be there on Tuesday and who will be there on Friday. Noise in the gym? These students will be there. Do you know your community enough to speak the truth of the Gospel into their life context? Its not about being relevant – its about a relationship with those around you.Its not about being relevant - its about a relationship with those around you. Click To Tweet
#2. Choosing your focus
When I first started, I sat and prayed that God would open doors only he could. Then I went to a lot of surrounding districts represented by our students. It was overwhelming, a lot of resounding “nos” (which I will touch on tomorrow) before 2 doors opened. Of course, excited, I pushed on both. And for a time it was good – things were rolling. But I hadn’t learned anything about focus. I forgot to mirror my rhythms after Jesus. Everywhere I went I focused crowds the same as I did my 12. Which didn’t work. Part of having missional rhythms in your life is knowing your focus – both in your locale as well as in relationship. At this point in ministry there are a few hundred middle school students who I know – but my focus on them is not in-depth discipleship. I am going to respond to them as crowds – speaking Good News as I can and meeting needs they have. Most of my time know is not spent outside of the North Canton city limits – not because those students don’t matter but because I am limited – much more-so than Jesus (obviously). I don’t want to add but make what I do natural – rhythms – with intention – to bring Good News to the middle school families in North Canton, Ohio.Part of having missional rhythms in your life is knowing your focus - both in your locale as well as in relationship. Click To Tweet
Whether as a full-time minister or a lay-leader – choose your focus. Paul speaks in Colossians 4:5 to “walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of time.” and Ephesians 5:16-17 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of time, because the days are evil.” What do you already do and how can you be intentional in these rhythms? Does your son/daughter play a sport in the same complex where your students play? Connect with them there. Do you have time before your son/daughter gets out of elementary? Pick up a student from middle school and grab a quick ice cream cone. Do you need to run errands? Take a middle schooler with you and include them in that rhythm of your life. Don’t change your life. Be intentional. Know your community. Be focused. Only change if you currently live in exile – let your mind be transformed and renewed, ask God to guide your focus to speak the truth of Jesus to concrete thinkers – equipping them to follow Him.ask God to guide your focus to speak the truth of Jesus to concrete thinkers - equipping them to follow Him. Click To Tweet