A divided church lost the most important election concerning the fate of biblical marriage in our nation’s history. This election revealed a deep division between minority Christian’s sense of moral priorities and the ethical codes of the white church community. When I say “minorities,” I mean blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and others consisting of 28 percent of the electorate; this group voted for a different moral code than their white Christian brothers.
Could it be that the Lord is challenging the Church to deal with her deep racial divisions before He sends the rains of economic blessings back to the nation? In 2 Samuel 21:1-14, this was the very problem that David had. As he sought the Lord’s blessings upon the land, David found he had to deal with an ancient racial wound inflicted on the Gibeonites by King Saul. Even though David did not commit the offense, he had to make amends for Saul’s sin in his generation.
For nearly eight years, I have been talking to Christians about the need for us to embrace a call to champion a balanced societal agenda of righteousness and justice. I have used Psalm 89:14 as a guideline for spiritual engagement with the culture. It reads: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you (NIV).”
Note: The following is an excerpt from Jack W. Hayford’s recent book, Sharpening Your Leading Edge: Moving From Methods to Mindset. It is the first of a two-part series.
Within hours following the 9-11 events in New York and Washington and through the following two weeks, I served, as did others, in a bittersweet task. It was bitter by reason of the need, and sweet by reason of the opportunity to offer healing truth and prayer. Doors opened across our nation to speak into the lives of many—some only seeking comfort, others seeking some meaning in their torment amid the apparently meaningless tragedy.
I was invited to nearly a dozen radio and TV venues—local, regional and national. Network reporters and talk-show hosts ask hard questions in such moments. I was glad that, in most cases, they were sensitive enough not to require “sound bite”-size answers.
Are you missing prime opportunities to reach and engage the elusive college demographic?
I was introduced to the facts of life the old-fashioned way: working in the breeding pens of a pig farm. I regularly got up close and personal with 500-pound hogs, helping them “maximize their efforts.”
That brutal introduction to breeding taught me more about fertilization and reproduction than a 14-year-old would ever want to know. It also left me with a lot of memories, most of which I have tried hard to forget. One familiar image, however, has stuck in my mind—the illustration of countless sperm cells desperately trying to break into an unfertilized egg to create a new generation. Believe it or not, that is precisely how I see the opportunity to engage young people with the gospel on university campuses.
These days, it’s hard to find a church with any kind of forward momentum that’s not in the business of establishing new churches or satellite congregations. Over the last two decades, the majority of those new church initiatives have targeted suburban young professionals and their growing families. Church leaders focus the balance of their efforts on inner-city neighborhoods or church planting through overseas partnerships.
Ever heard of David Hogg? He taught Sunday school in Blantyre, Scotland, in the early 1800s. In the small church where he taught boys year after year, Hogg certainly had opportunities to question his significance. But his faithfulness and the Word of God ignited a love for the people of Africa in one of his students David Livingstone, who became arguably the greatest missionary to Africa in the 19th century, opening that continent to the gospel.
In the small church or those of us who are pastors of smaller churches, it can be easy to question the significance and impact we are having in our churches and communities compared with larger or more publicly recognized churches. Yet according to the Hartford Religious Institute, 61 percent of all Protestants attend churches with 499 or fewer weekly worshipers. That means the majority of Christians in America are being discipled and cared for in much-needed smaller and midsize churches, led by regular guys like us.
A practical plan for engaging the entire church in revolutionary disciple-making
We all want to do something revolutionary. I know I do. After 40 years in ministry, I can say that I have been involved in a life- and world-changing revolution. Will you join me in this mandate to any and every mature disciple of Christ?
This revolution started 2,000 years ago when Jesus uttered the words, "Follow me" to 12 men He would spend His time on earth with teaching and showing them what it meant to be His disciple. Through this simple concept, Jesus reproduced Himself in His followers.
The revolution continued as these disciples led by Peter established the early church, followed by Paul, who followed Jesus' ex-ample as he discipled Timothy, Titus and Silas.
Since then, faithful believers have sporadically picked up this spiritual fathering concept.
Call it what you want—mentoring, discipling, coaching or spiritual fathering or mothering—it all boils down to the idea of caring about each other's spiritual growth.
Paul grasped this truth when he told Timothy, "You then, my son, ... the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Tim. 2:1-2, NIV). Paul exhorted his disciple, Timo-thy, to find another disciple who would disciple another.
We need to equip young adults to help change their world
I am the product of spiritual genetic engineering. God has placed a passion inside of me to see global change through young people.
Never in history have we been faced with these demographics—60 percent of young people live in Asia and 90 percent of the world’s youth live in developing nations. These countries are part of what’s known as the 10/40 Window—a geographical region that is the most densely populated and yet the least evangelized.
Young adults worldwide are facing horrific issues, which we must confront. The average age of human trafficking victims is between 10-18, and 60 percent of those rescued from brothels in South Asia are infected with HIV. Approximately 1 million youth and children are sold into the sex industry annually.