Devoted: Making An Impact

As Pastor Tracy mentoned on Sunday, here are some great ideas from Timothy Keller’s book Center Church of how you can make an impact for Christ in ways that are organic, relational, Word deploying (bringing the Bible and gospel into connection with people’s lives) and active (each person assumes personal responsibility to share Christ).

  • Jerry is asked by his work colleague Bill how his weekend went. Jerry relates that he went on a men’s retreat that provided spiritual resources for forgiving people who have wronged us over the years. When Bill raises his eyebrows and says, “That’s interesting,” Jerry takes a small plunge and mentions that the thing that helped him most was the idea that even though he has not given God his due, God offers him forgiveness through Jesus.

  • Dan and Jill help their two sons, ages five and seven, with Scripture memorization and teach them a simple catechism. They field the boys’ questions and help them understand the meaning of the texts they are studying.

  • Sally gets to knows a young woman named Clara at church. Clara confides that she and her husband are having marriage problems and he isn’t willing to go to a counsellor. Sally and her husband Jeff, invite Clara and Same over for a meal. Sam hits it off with Jeff. Afterward, Clara convinces Sam to meet with Jeff and Sally to talk about their marriage issues. They meet together once a month for four months, studying Ephesians 5 and several other biblical texts on marriage.

  • John comes to church with his wife, but he isn’t sure what he believes or where he stands on faith. The pastor introduces him to an elder named Tom, who begins meeting with John on occasion to read and discuss a book about basic Christianity. After two meetings, John agrees to study the gospel of Mark with Tom every two or three weeks.

  • Jenny begins coming to a small group in the church. She was raised in the church but has so many doubts and questions that her group leader, Beth, begins meeting with her one-on-one. They study Bible passages and read books that address each of her questions, one after the other.

  • Ted is a young single lawyer. He knows several other lawyers who go to church with him, though they don’t work for his firm. He decides to have a Super Bowl party for several of his non-Christian colleagues and invites two Christian lawyers from church and a couple of other believers as well. The men and women from his workplace hit it off with the lawyers from church. About three months later, one of them shows up in church with one of Ted’s friends.

  • Jessica meets Teresa, a new believer, at church and invites her to work through a series of six Bible studies for new Christians (on issues such as prayer, Bible reading, the role of the church, understanding the gospel better, etc.)

  • Fred has been attending a small group for months. At one point he realizes that he assesses the value of the group strictly on what he gets out of it. He then decides to being preparing well (studying the passage) and praying for the group. When he comes, he looks for every opportunity to help the Bible study leader by making good contributions and for ways to speak the truth in love so others are encouraged and helped to grow.

  • Catherine prays for her friend Megan for months. Megan responds well to two short books on Christian subjects that Catherine has given her. She then invites Megan to an evangelistic event in which Christian truth is presented. On the way home, she fields Megan’s questions.

  • Joe has a longtime friend from college days named Pete, who is a musician. Pete’s performance anxiety is harming his career. Joe has been a sympathetic listener for some time, but finally he bluntly asks Pete to explore the Christian faith with him. “I think maybe it’s the only thing that will help you overcome your problem.” Pete is taken aback, but after a while, he expresses interest, mainly out of desperation. Joe warns him, “If Christianity is going to be any help, it will only be if you come to the belief that it is not just helpful but true.” Pete doesn’t want to go to any Christian gatherings, so they start studying the Bible together and listening to sermons and lectures and discussing them.

  • Kerrie and two other Christian friends are moms who have young kids. They decide to start a daytime moms’ group and invite non-Christian friends. For about a year, the group grows to include a similar number of Christians and nonbelievers. The conversations are general and freewheeling - covering spiritual, social, marriage, parenting, and personal issues. As time goes on, several of the nonbelievers begin to go to church with the believers and cross over the line of faith. After three years, the group is a Christian Bible study but still open and inclusive toward a few non-believers who come regularly.

  • Jim and Cynthia are both artists who are involved in a citywide Christian artists’ fellowship based in their local church. The fellowship typically includes a discussion of the relationship of faith to art that assumes a Christian belief, but the artists have four events a year that will be either a gallery showing or a book event in which a credible working artist talks to a general audience about how their faith relates to their art. Jim and Cynthia are diligent in bringing non-Christian artists or art appreciators to these events.

  • Greg comes to faith in Christ through a skeptics/seeker group hosted by a church. When the date for his baptism is set, he invites a number of non-Christian friends to the service and then takes them out for lunch and discusses the whole event. One friend is very moved by the experience, and Greg invites him to come back. Eventually, the friend begins coming to his small group with him.

Center Church
Copyright (C) 2012 by Redeemer City to City and Timothy J. Keller
(excerpt taken from pages 279-280)