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Starting New Things – Disciples in Relation to ‘The World’

Starting New Things – Disciples in Relation to ‘The World’

Being a disciple of Jesus is doing what Jesus did and what Jesus did was primarily driven by three relationships, with his Father, with his disciples and with the world. Jesus travelled extensively in Galilee and up to Jerusalem teaching, healing and proclaiming the Kingdom of God. He sent his disciples out in pairs to do the same. In Acts we see the outward journey continue among the gentiles of the Roman Empire.

This outward looking relationship that Jesus had with the world is a common theme through the New Testament and we should remember that ‘The World’ is those who have yet to respond to the call to follow Jesus. This call is to come back to being Image Bearers, and to go forward as Justice Bringers and Multipliers, as discussed in previous posts. This outward set of relationships is often summed up in the word, ‘mission’.

Mission can seem to be a daunting prospect when we consider how far interest in the church in this country has fallen over the last century or so. Are people really interested in God and religion? Aren’t we all a little bit embarassed to talk about it? What about the idea of St Francis about preaching with deeds and only using words when necessary? Isn’t Christianity a private thing? We certainly shouldn’t mix religion with politics, should we?

In fact all those assumptions are incorrect. The Talking Jesus Report (found here) contains some remarkable insights into peoples interest in and willingness to talk about Christianity. Non-Christians (people who don’t call themselves Christians), describe Christians as Caring and Friendly and when they talked about Jesus, 75% said they felt comfortable in the conversation.

St Francis is badly misquoted in relation to letting deeds do the talking. In fact St Francis was an enthusiastic and eloquent speaker in regards to proclaiming the good news of Jesus, his point was not to let our actions and our words be out of step. Christianity is not a private thing either. Jesus preached openly to crowds and Christianity has long been in the public areana as a voice for fairness, justice and the good news of the kingdom. Finally, Christians do in fact engage in huge amounts of social justice and have done for a very long time. From the setting up of schools to the abolition of slavery to the food banks of today Christianity has had a social and political impact. In a more gentle and less obvious way Christianity is a force for care and social cohesion through lunch clubs, coffee mornings, parent and toddler groups etc.

Christian disciples need to engage in mission because Jesus did, and because its God’s plan for human beings to bring justice and multiply goodness. Its at the heart of what we do and what we believe. Christopher J.H. Wright wrote, “It is not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world, as that God has a church for his mission in the world. Mission was not made for the church; the church was made for mission – God’s mission.” 

In our churches as they are, and in Starting New Things, we need to provide opportunity for Mission. Mission in it’s broadest sense. The Mission of God, the Missio Dei is about people knowing God, evangelism AND social justice AND multiplication. It means we have to think about where we are and who is around us. Who can we see and who can’t we see. The community of the church needs to reach OUT, just as Jesus did because discipleship includes meeting the world.

For encouragement: There are lots of easy ways to engage with the world and many of our churches already do that, starting a new thing isn’t hard and their is a lot of support available.

To think about: Are we intentional in mission in helping people bear God’s image AND become justice bringers? How are we multiplying?

If you want to find out more about discipleship head over to

Or get in touch with Hannah Sandoval our Lights for Christ enabler

For more posts in this series click here

If you want to talk about Starting Something New, or church growth, or mission in general do get in touch