Posted: 5/8/18 at 9:20am. Post by Tony Brooks.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5 NIV)
As Katrina and I watched The Avengers: Infinity War, we were mesmerized by all the characters that we had seen in previous hero movies. We were not prepared for the ending. (Most are not ready to see heroes die. Of course, we know the movies will bring us back to those heroes later!) Why are we surprised? We want to see all the heroes live!
In reality, heroes die every day as they seek to save others. Jesus said in Matthew 16:25 (NIV): For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. A willingness to lose one’s life requires faith that God will help us find real life here or beyond.
Sunday School/small groups is where we build community and develop our faith at a deeper level as we risk losing life. Jesus often healed and forgave others because of someone else’s faith, as in the passage in Mark 2.
So how do we live into the reality that Jesus expressed? Here are some ideas:
- Pray for persons in your community who need God’s love and help. The majority of our prayer time in Sunday School or small group is for saints who are hurting. We are praying for God not to take them to heaven anytime soon. We need to spend more time also praying for God to help us (in faith) to reach people who need God’s love and salvation!
- Engage persons in your community. How are you engaging persons in the community? We need to understand the changes in our culture. Inviting someone to Bible study is not going to engage people in your community. It requires faith, which means getting to know them (time) and empowering them (time and money) as well as building community. I suggest inviting neighbors to dinner at your house. Get to know them without church language. Neighbors will know if this is about you feeling good in trying to get them to church or really wanting to know and love them. Let the church know how to empower them. After a while, they will want to know you and want to understand your commitment. This is faith acted out!
- Serve your community. Talk to personnel in your school system, fire departments, police departments, and other places where people serve your community. Ask them how you can help them. Once again, this requires time and effort on your part and the use of no church language. It requires faith that God will open doors to make a difference.
- Mentor others. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? Invite others in your community to join you. For instance, if you are a good cook, offer cooking classes at no cost. If you are good at gardening, offer to help at no cost. If you love to cut grass, offer to cut the grass of a senior adult or disabled person who can’t. The options are endless.
Far too long have we believed that people will simply come to our class/group. It is time for us to get out to where they are and show them God’s love!