Keeping score: 5. Gathering communities

Paul knew his place. He planted. Apollos watered, but God gives the growth. It's God's mission but he calls us to partner with him. We have a real role to place. So how do we track progress? What does it mean to work hard in his harvest field?

5. Gathering communities

You don't have to go to church to become a disciple, but the NT knows nothing of disciples who are not in community.

Our work is never finished until we have gathered disciples into communities that follow Jesus together. You can call it whatever you want. Luke uses terms like: the disciples, the believers, the brothers (and sisters), the church.

Church formation is the fruit of teaching new believers to obey Christ's commands.

However you gather communities, it's crucial that whatever they do reflects Biblical norms rather than our own traditions. The simpler the form of church, the easier it is to reproduce.

Take a look at Acts 2:38-47 and ask, What does the church do? Better still, let the new disciples read the passage and answer the question.

If you're a bit nervous, ask yourself how Peter felt when he left behind a church meeting in Cornelius' house after just a few days. They worked it out somehow.

The best way to get to there is to begin the journey at the destination. One way to do this is to integrate elements of church life into how you share the gospel and make disciples.

I start every Discovery Bible Study with, How has your week been? I end with what challenges are you facing this week? Take opportunities to share and pray for needs. I've had an atheist pray for me as we studied Mark's Gospel together in a cafe.

You can gradually introduce elements of church life as seekers and new disciples progress in learning to obey Jesus.

Wait a few years before you bring in the multimedia presentations and band.

Next: Multiplying workers.