What’s the difference between outreach and incarnation when loving our neighbours and engaging people’s spiritual curiosity? Jon Hand shared the mic with his friend Christian Wiley in this challenging and encouraging message on how to partner with God to reach beyond ourselves.
Jon Hand is a third generation pastor, church planter, and passionate about the inner life of pastors. He has been married to Aimee for 20 years and they have three children. Jon is on staff at The Meeting House as Leadership Development Pastor, as well as founding partner in Transformational Coaching, a leadership development training experience that teaches coaching skills while inviting leaders to deeper inner transformation.
PARTNERING WITH GOD IN REACHING BEYOND OURSELVES
Message by Jon Hand – February 2, 2020
Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Colossians 1:25-27 NIV I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
POSTURES AND PRACTICES TO PARTNER WITH GOD
1. Be available and present. Jesus became available to us by giving up his security and comfort, making us his agenda.
Philippians 2:6-8 NIV Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
2. Be a student of people and their culture; take genuine interest in them.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NIV Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
- What do they value?
- Where do your values overlap with their values?
- Where can you partner on things you both believe in?
- What is their understanding of the ‘good life?’
- What is good news to them?
- What do they love?
- Where does Jesus affirm their culture and what aspects of their culture does Jesus challenge?
3. Be useful and surprise them with blessing. On several occasions Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” This is a posture of being good news.
Mark 10:51 NIV “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
Luke 18:41 NIV Jesus asked [the blind man], “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
- How can you or your church be bringers of good news?
- This is not about getting them to believe something or come to your church. Those may be bi-products of the genuine interest you are taking in being good neighbours, friends, and coworkers.
- What is their love language and how can you speak it genuinely?
4. Learn how to ask good questions and listen deeply to what people say. The Gospels record Jesus asking over 300 questions to people he was engaging with. Jesus’ questions were getting to the deeper conversations about things that mattered most.
5. Share vulnerably out of your story and experiences. Be genuine appropriately and honest about your own challenges, weakness, frailty, and vulnerabilities. People are more comforted and disarmed by our weaknesses than they are impressed by our strength. Share genuinely how Jesus meets you in your weakness, frailties, challenge, fear, and transforms your life. When we take off our mask first, people tend to come out of hiding.
6. Don’t try to change people’s behaviours. We are not trying to manage people’s sin, we are seeking relational ways to introduce people to an amazing Love that changes us and them over time.
7. 20 seconds of insane courage. Pay attention to nudges from the Holy Spirit and choose courage and boldness in the nudge. This way of life involves taking risks in the power of the Holy Spirit to imperfectly love people.
Ephesians 6:19 NIV Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…
Colossians 4:3 NIV And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
8. Many people are hungry, open, and seeking the Jesus-centred life; they just don’t know what that is YET.
OUTREACH AND INCARNATION
|Outreach (training wheels for incarnation)||Incarnation (fully entering in or being fully present to)|
|Event oriented; has a scheduled start and a finish||Posture and motivation oriented; daily awareness of God and others with a motivation to love. Willingness for plans to change and to be inconvenienced|
|Come to us||Go to them and join with them|
|Offers to meet a specific need||Seeks to understand why the need exists and seeking to meet the underlying need|
|Has a program to offer||Seeks to understand what is important and valued|
|Invites to church||Invites to genuine relationship which may lead to spiritual conversations which may lead to them coming to church|
|Done as a group and disbands when over||Supported by an ongoing community of like-minded people cheering you on|
Learn more about a growing network of churches working together to equip each other in how to introduce spiritually curious people to the Jesus centred life: www.jesuscollective.com
Learn more about some innovative ways churches are trying to engage spiritually curious people and bring blessing to their community: www.freshexpressionsus.org
Learn more about the practices, belief, values, and loves of our secular friends and neighbours – This Cultural Moment Podcast – John Mark Comer and Jeremy Sayers: https://thisculturalmoment.com/