Ever heard of Creative Memories? How about Pampered Chef? Both are “direct marketing” companies that sell their products through sales representatives who work from their homes. There are no stores or mail order catalogs. It’s a great way people have made lots of money. But the way to make a good amount of money is not just to sell the product but to get others to sell. Their sales benefit both the sales rep and their supervisor and the whole company benefits.
It could be seen as a pyramid scheme, but I say that in a positive way – so maybe pyramid plan would be better. It simply allows the company to sell their products without the work of establishing large offices or stores and paying managers – it happens through the process of one person at a time building a sales team and selling a good product.
Okay, this is not a blog about direct marketing benefits or promotion. I just use that to help us understand how God calls us to encourage others to truly follow Christ. I could use the example I used yesterday morning in my sermon. When I was growing up I watched my dad build things and fix things. I was most interested in the building work – my dad’s workshop was one of my favorite places. What I love now is that I have this knowledge that allows me to build stuff. Some of that knowledge I have gained through my own experience, but it is all rooted in the way my dad taught me when I was younger. He poured his knowledge and experience into me and nurtured my love for working with wood. I know I haven’t really done that with my son, but I hope I have done other things to pour some of me into him.
Here’s where I’m taking far too long to get to my point (my blog is titled as a “musing” so it’s not really a surprise) – we are called to “teach and disciple others”. At Asbury UMC this is one of the ways we measure how deeply we are living in the HOPE of Jesus Christ. Those who are actively engaged in their life with Christ “teach and disciple others”.
This is God’s Kingdom pyramid plan. Before Jesus left this earth he told his followers – Go, and as you go, disciple all peoples baptizing them and teaching them. In other words, don’t keep your faith to yourself, pour your life with Christ into the lives of others. Knowing Jesus yourself is a good thing, it gives you many benefits. Teaching and nurturing a life of faith in others brings you even more benefit – you experience life with Christ in an even greater way.
Do I mean you should be teaching a Bible study or leading a small group? Not really. You can, but that’s not what I am talking about here. It’s just about finding one or two other people to connect with and share the journey with. It’s about growing in your faith, experiencing life with Christ in greater ways, and then encouraging others to join you. Your stories and knowledge of God’s work in your life will help form those one or two other people and give them a way to step out on their own. Eventually, they should do the same.
So, if you teach and disciple one or two others and they experience the HOPE of Jesus Christ in their life and begin to live more into that, then they will in turn nurture one or two others. And then those 2-4 people do the same and those do the same and soon the gospel begins to impact more and more lives. It’s a pyramid plan of sorts.
Now, the reality is that God could do this on His own, but, God chooses to use us as partners in the gospel work. Without our willingness to encourage others to live boldly into their life with Christ, the pyramid doesn’t grow as big or as fast. At Asbury we say that God is calling us to help others experience the hope of Jesus Christ. If we want that to happen in a real way, in a big way, then we must begin to answer the call to “teach and disciple others” in the faith.
I wish I could say I have done this well, but I am not sure I have. I plan to pray hard that God would help me do this and do it well. How about you? Can you join me in that prayer?
Holy high-five to you,