Want inspiration for a fun and exciting way to follow Jesus? Start with practical love – and don’t do it on your own! Includes some great examples to inspire you.
Godsend is about a 21st century way to follow Jesus.
- Find a friend in a corner of your life.
- Prayerfully discover a simple way to love the people around you.
- Deepen your relationships with them.
- Share your thoughts and feelings about Jesus as part of a fuller life.
- As people come to faith, encourage them to form a small Christian community where they are and connect them to the wider church.
Your first step is to read or listen to the Guide below.
1. Follow Jesus with someone
First, find a friend (or more!) in your workplace, family, circle of acquaintances, passion, neighbourhood, or where you spend much of your time.
A young man passed a small building site walking to work. He decided to give workers there free donuts once a week, as an expression of Christian love.
The first few times went well. But then he stopped. Keeping it up week after week without a friend on the same page felt too difficult. He needed someone with the same vision so that they could support, help and motivate each other.
Following Jesus is difficult when you do it alone. That’s why in Luke 10.1 Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs. So get together with a friend – and ask for God’s help.
2. Discover a simple way to love people round you . . .
. . . and build friendships with them.
Here are four examples:
- Knit and Natter began when Christine Crowder met with three friends and created an opportunity for people to knit for a purpose. They knitted prayer shawls for the bereaved, blankets for the local women’s refuge and hats for shoebox appeals. And they prayed for the people who would receive them. Before long, 30 or more people were involved. Most were not attending church. Short devotions at the end proved popular. Gradually, step-by-step, a new worshipping community has emerged.
- Stepping Stones started with some Christians asking how they could lovingly serve families of the local school. They held parties in the school and beach outings. People got to know each other better and trust grew. The leaders then offered a course introducing Jesus.
- ‘Fit for life’ is the strapline of a group in Hampshire, England. Christians connect with people who enjoy running, go to the gym or play football. They have a drink with them afterwards and become friends. A monthly lunch after Sunday football involves 40 people who are into these health and fitness activities. Might evenings on ‘spiritual health and fitness’ be a next step? “Jesus is one of the world’s greatest spiritual coaches. Let’s look at his advice and see if we agree.”
- Laura gathered teenagers round eating puddings. They shared what was going on for each of them. One of them prayed after each person shared. Virtually none of them were attending church, but they were learning to follow Jesus together.
3. Enhance what you’re doing
Don’t take on an extra commitment unrelated to your passion or interest. Enhance what you are already into – like Louisa.
Louisa was a type of community nurse in England’s East Midlands. She knew that many young mothers locally suffered from post-natal depression. She chatted to Charlie and his wife who lived near these mothers. Up popped an idea.
The couple would host a weekly drop-in centre for mothers and their children. Louisa would be present with her medical expertise. After a while, the mothers wanted to meet up on a separate occasion while their partners babysat.
Charlie suggested a menu of things the women might do when they met. They decided to watch a video with stories about lives being changed by God. So began the journey toward a new Christian community, which enriched the group.
4. This was not a new time-demanding church commitment
Louisa just sowed a spiritual extra into a major part of her life. It was an exciting way to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12.31).
Anyone can do something like this:
- Not just young people
- Nor people from one particular church tradition
- Nor people with a gift of evangelism.
Whatever your background, it could be you!
5. Next steps
- Find at least one friend
- Explore a simple way to love people you’re connected with
- Build friendships with those involved
- Look for natural and appropriate opportunities to share your faith.
Daunted by the last step? No need to be! The next unit shows how you can take this step almost without knowing!
Sarah describes the power of loving people round you and building relationships with them.
Adam is enhancing what he is already into, which is classic cars.
Read Matthew 25.14-30 (the parable of the talents).
- Imagine this story happened today. What would it look like?
- What ‘talents’ – interests and passions, gifts and abilities, knowledge and experiences – has God given to you? How might you share them with other people in your network, neighbourhood, workplace, or another focus of your life?
- Who could you do this with?
1) As you have explored this part of the app, how have you reacted?
- What’s excited you?
- What’s challenged you?
- What reservations or questions are you left with?
- In the light of your reactions, which part of godsend would you like to explore next?
2) Download the free fresh expressions-stories app (from Apple or from Google Play) and post a question. For example, if you have the start of an idea for a new Christian community, does anyone know of other people who have tried something similar?