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Discipleship, Strategy

Oh, those purple jars! or… Disciple-making despite distractions

Purple JarMy mother’s favorite story is about a little girl who needed new shoes, but foolishly spent her money on a beautiful purple jar. One day she opened the jar and dropped it on the floor. All the purple water spilled out and she was left not only with a useless jar, but shoes that hurt her feet.

Recognize this as a parable for disciple-making opportunities. Millions are distracted by dressed-up philosophies while they hobble along having settled for what they wanted and not what they needed.

Believers do not witness for Jesus in a vacuum. There are churches in many places as well as on television. Thousands of messages bombard non-Christians shaping their theology, doctrinal premises, and understanding of Christianity prior to salvation. New Testament churches have an obligation to combine forces and stand against the spiritual garbage spewing from the world’s media. Production, distribution, and support of appropriate Christian media are essential.

A church planting team that I got to train in a large American city led six former Hindus to faith in Jesus. The team was excited as they discipled the new believers and began to form a church. But the new believers started asking about a mega-church near their community. The preaching, music, and video clips during worship amazed them. It wasn’t long before the former Hindus announced that they didn’t want to start a church that was reaching and discipling Hindus. Instead, they settled for assimilation.

In Luke 10, Jesus sent out His disciples with a purpose to intentionally prepare towns to receive Jesus and His kingdom message. This was an act of nurturing hearts to hear the truth. We call this “climatization.” In today’s terms, Jesus’ disciples were to add value to the lost prior to even hearing the gospel by helping them (10:9). Churches need to work at climatizing their communities with biblical truth so that the lost can easily engage in important spiritual conversations.

Small groups using Bible Storying to make disciple-makers do so with plenty of tempting distractions nearby. Study this! Worship here! Read this the best you can! There are many purple jars offering so much — or so it seems. What are you doing to go beyond colored water?

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About Mark Snowden

TruthSticks originated from the book I co-authored with the late Avery Willis. Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truths in a Teflon World was the book and this blog and Bible studies have resulted. It's great to be partnering with churches who are committed to making disciple-makers. Request a catalog of Bible studies using orality at SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com.

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