MAY CONVERSATION

Welcome

This is the Impact Group page for the May Lausanne Europe 2020 Conversation. If this is your first time joining in the LE2020 Conversation, everything you need is right here. Just follow the steps below to guide your group through the various parts. This month’s Impact Group returns to two of the key threads in our Conversation: discipleship and mobilisation for mission.

Mobilisation

On the topic of mobilisation, we would ask you to prepare for the Impact Group by listening to this Podcast interview with Ulvis Kravalis from Latvia. A transcript of this interview is also available to read.
PODCAST AND SHOW NOTES

Discipleship

In March, the focus of the discipleship thread was personal spiritual growth. This month, in our second instalment, we want to look at disciple-making in the sense of bearing fruit as a body.

Ideally, discipleship involves both growing deeper in Christ by abiding in Him personally AND growing together in unity as the body of Christ. The reality is, however, we can be tempted not only to stall in our own personal walk with Christ, but also to turn aside from being joined with others. The picture of the vine in John 15 is that, as we abide in Christ the true vine, we produce fruit together, not just on our own. Not abiding together will cause little or even no fruit.

The apostle Paul provides another powerful description in his letter to the Ephesians:
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15–16 (ESV)

Paul focuses here on the centrality of gospel growth, and the condition for that growth – being joined together with Him and one another. Take a moment to read through the verses again word for word:

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Notice how much the following words emphasise Paul’s point: we…grow, every way, whole, joined, held together, every joint and body grow.

The theme of Ephesians 4 is spiritual growth into maturity, which is discipleship. In chapters 1-3, Paul focused on grace and salvation. Now he is applying those truths practically to daily community life. It’s clear this growth flourishes as we live and work together as the body of Christ. Growing together as one whole, not just as individuals, defines our identity in its proper place of unity, joy, faithfulness, perseverance, and love.

In order to grow fully and avoid fruitlessness, we need three elements:
  • Christ – He is the source of our life, and our primary experience of love and grace as well as the purpose of our growth
  • Each other – As lessons are taught and caught from one another, we build one another up and grow into full maturity together
  • Others – We want to express the “other-focused” quality of love so that others who we don’t yet know also become members of Christ’s body
Our first thought on disciple-making may not be loving and caring for those outside the body, but it’s an essential element. In v. 16, Paul refers to the WHOLE body, unified in identity and function in Christ.

The fact is today, we are an incomplete body in unity, maturity and quantity. This means our growth as disciples is visibly signified not only through our own developing unity and maturity, but also as we share the light of Christ’s love and grace to those in darkness who are still to come to know and trust Him. Although we don’t know for certain who those brothers and sisters are, by expressing love to one another both in and beyond the body, we produce living fruit for those who will someday be part of the body of Christ. We will develop this theme of the community-wide impact of disciple-making in a future instalment.

Christ calls us to grow in Him to fruitful maturity. Paul then makes a compelling case - for us not to grow as spiritual soloists, but rather to be a choir joined in the bond of truth in love, producing a harmony reflecting manifold beauty in unison.

If you have a particular interest in disciple-making, Lausanne Europe 2020 wants to facilitate an initiative which will look into this more deeply. If you would like to know more, please click here and we’ll be happy to get in touch with you.
Disciple-makers Initiative

1. Introductions

Give time for everyone to introduce themselves if this is your first Impact Group. Ask someone to pray that God would speak to us as we meet together.

2. Discipleship

In March we introduced the Discipleship thread of the LE2020 Conversation. We began, as we must, with a focus on personal discipleship. We want to see Europe transformed but that begins with a renewal in our own hearts. This month we turn to thinking about disciple-making in the context of the body of Christ.

Read the text on discipleship and then consider together in your Impact Group the following questions:
  1. In Ephesians 4:15, what aspects does Paul include in “we are to grow up in every way”? Be ready to share these in your Impact Group.
  2. Is your church disciple-making as a body, together? Would you like this growth to be different? If so, how?
  3. How could growing in discipleship as a body express Christ’s love and redemption to your local community?

3. Mobilisation

Last month we began the mobilisation thread of the LE2020 Conversation. We used a Podcast to think about communities around us that might be unreached by the gospel unless someone moves in. This month we are thinking about how we might be mobilised for mission right where we are. We will meet Ulvis Kravalis from Latvia, a former international wrestler. Listen to the podcast and then consider together in your Impact Group the following questions:
  1. Was there anything in Ulvis's story that you found particularly challenging, and if so, what?
  2. Do you recognise any People of Peace in your life? How did you identify them?
  3. What would it look like if you were to invite other Christians to join with you in living everyday life in mission? Who would you invite?
  4. What practical steps towards a personal mobilisation into mission might you take after this month's Impact Group?

4. Prayer

Do make sure that you leave enough time to pray together every time you meet. Here are the prayer points for the May Impact Group:
  1. Pray for a simplified, but a deeper understanding of the ‘Great Commission’ (Matthew 28:19-20) and of the church as the Body of Christ, so that we can know how to best preach the gospel of Christ and make disciples for Him.
  2. Pray for God to reveal to us the areas we have neglected to grow together as a church community.
  3. Pray for the church to proclaim the teachings of Jesus Christ boldly and clearly both in personal evangelism (one-to-one discipleship) and in preaching God’s word.
  4. Pray that God might help us to identify opportunities for mission in our everyday lives.
  5. As local churches continue to wrestle with the challenges posed by Coronavirus, pray for attentiveness to God's voice that we might find culturally appropriate strategies for reaching our surrounding communities and the nation at large.

5. Make Your Contribution to the Conversation

We really want to hear back from your Impact Group after each session. Please find a few minutes to summarise what you hear from God, the highlights of the discussion, and any questions that were raised, in the comments box immediately below. See you next month.

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