This article first published on The Sola Panel
In January 2010 I set myself a goal that has transformed my diary, my thinking, my reading and the way my home operates.
In January 2010 I pledged to work at the goal, prayerfully and dependently, of bringing ten people into the Kingdom of God by 31 December 2011.
Several things inspired me:
- Col Marshall's exhortation at an MTS meeting in June 2009. Col said MTS Apprenticeships should be re-labelled ‘In-Ten-ships’ i.e. have the aim to win ten people to Christ in the two year period of the apprenticeship (Col wanted apprentices to re-commit to the great commission, not just fill in existing roles in churches)
- The realization that I was spending hardly any time at all with those friends and family outside the kingdom. Church commitments can fill your whole week, can't they?
- A builder mate called Steve who shares Christ with heaps of blokes every week … he's got a very open home and people constantly ‘drop in for a coffee’
- Mark Driscoll's visit in 2008. Mark said (paraphrased) that Bible colleges should make friends coming to Christ a core component of passing.
So my family and I have re-jigged stuff to hit the goal.
- We still serve at church but our area of focus is outreach. We're committed to running a ‘Life of Jesus’ course every quarter.
- We have a list of friends we pray for regularly … in the past it was more sporadic.
- I'm trying to listen to my friends ‘stories’ better. I'm listening to hear their worldview: (i) what their hopes and dreams for planet earth are; (ii) what they think is wrong about the world; (iii) what they think is the solution; and (iv) where they’re heading. I'm trying to do twice as much listening as talking.
- We've got our kids doing the kind of sports where the parents come along and relate, e.g. Edmund plays soccer. The soccer community has created some great friendships.
- I asked the principal of my kids' school if I could run a Bible study for other Dads to help them find out what the school teaches their children about God.
- We work really hard at inviting people into our home, and we are trying to kill off that ever present Aussie tendency to think of our home as a ‘castle’ or a ‘refuge’ from the world.
- I try hard to get to know the friends of the men in my Tuesday night blokes Bible study, and they try to get to know my mates. It is much better to ‘hunt in packs’ (I wish I had a more positive metaphor … hunting isn't a very nice term, but you know what I mean).
- When the World Cup was on recently, I invited all my mates over to several 4:30am games. I cooked Bacon & Egg McWraps … we had a great time. Just doing normal stuff together with my mates, but constantly mixing friends together i.e. those who do and don’t have Jesus as their CEO.
- I'm listening out more intently for interesting ideas re: getting people together. I've heard some great ideas:
- Youtube Parties—invite people over, and they have to bring a URL for a video (less than three minutes) they want everyone to watch. Christians can obviously choose one that means something to them.
- Q&A—choose a topic, get some experts together and mimic the Monday Night ABC hit show. You might run something called ‘Politics and Religion’ and invite the local Greens candidate, an archbishop, an academic,whatever, the options are endless.
I know what you're thinking: “All those bullet points above are basic Benny. That's just loving people.”
Yep. You're right. Winnie the Pooh and I have a lot in common; he was referred to as ‘a bear of little brain’. I need to be reminded of the basics constantly.
I'm eight months into this endeavour. There's been some really good progress in relationships … some people look like they may have become believers. But the bottom line is that Em and I (and the kids) feel like we're on the job.
We’re trying to devote real concerted effort to being great commissionaires. We're praying heaps more, we’re depending on God in a new and deep way. We're loving people better.
10 in 2 is hard.
But perhaps you can chat with a couple of close friends and start working on something like this together in your neck of the woods.
It is my hope that 10 in 2 will help me do for others what was done for me. Rhys Bezzant met me and had structured his time so that he was ready to read through a chapter of Mark with me weekly. He was ‘on the job’, alert and ready.
Perhaps 10 in 2 is for you.