This is an ongoing story that I wanted to use the 4 Fields to illustrate. (If you're not familiar with the Four Fields, here's a great overview.) I'll be updating this post as the story continues.
Field 1: Entry - How do I engage people that are far from God?
I had partnered with a local youth group to engage people in an apartment complex. We had an ice cream social that afternoon, so we went door to door in the morning. There were about 20 students that knocked on 400 doors! We had trained them to invite to extend an invitation to the ice cream social AND to offer to pray for those they met.
Field 2: The Gospel - How do I share the Gospel?
The students were prepared to share the Gospel with anyone who was open to prayer. We were able to do that 5 times that day. (Side note: There are more efficient methods of engaging the lost, but for several reasons going door to door was the best option that day.)
ONE of those five that we shared the Gospel with with was Adam. He told me a two things later on that are pertinent to the story: 1) He almost didn't open the door. But he said just felt that something compelled him to do it. 2) He had actually come to faith in Jesus about a year prior through reading Scripture on his own. He had attempted to find a church but the one or two he tried weren't a good fit. Just weeks before we knocked on his door he remembers thinking: "I just need someone to come to me. I'm not strong enough on my own."
The same day the students met Adam we came back and did a simple Discovery Bible Study. Through that time we were able to see he had a genuine faith, but also many questions. I offered to meet him again with another Bible story to see if it would answer more of his questions. God had prepared his heart because he was more than eager to meet!
Field 3: Discipleship - How do we train disciples to follow Jesus?
After our second Bible study I cast vision for going through a short term discipleship study to help him learn to follow Jesus. He was only available on weekends or evenings, so I invited him to continue our study at my church on Sunday morning. (Note: If there had been a group I would have stayed in his apartment context, but since Adam was alone bringing him to a wider body of Christ seemed like the right fit.)
After our first discipleship lesson (3rd Bible Study together) he wanted to be baptized. We waited a few weeks so his son could be there.
After our second discipleship lesson, he was talking about people in his life he had unashamedly talked with about spiritual things.. He kept on affirming his own belief in Jesus and desire to follow him. Walking him through Scripture and watching him obey has been one of the best parts of my summer.
Field 4: Church - How do we gather disciples into healthy church?
We haven't made a healthy disciple if they don't understand the importance of being a part of a healthy church. As we wrapped up our short term discipleship study we went through a simple but specific lesson on the church. It was really cool to see him apply in two places: 1) "I should probably stay for the church service" and 2) "We could also do these things as a group" (at this point a coworker had joined us.
Part 5: Leadership Development
Literally one month after we met him, Adam joined me out in the harvest. I modeled how to start a spiritual conversation, share the Gospel, and invite people to a Discovery Bible Study. Later that week he told me he had been practicing the Three Circles Gospel tool multiple times on his own.
Over the next few weeks he shared the Gospel with several co-workers, inviting them to join our Sunday morning Bible study. At one point I trained him in a simple Bible study process (the three thirds) and encouraged him to lead part of our Bible study time together. I've been able to coach him on simple methods and tools to start conversations and share the Gospel (which brings us back around to Fields 1 and 2).
Here's some irony: When I first met him, I didn't think he was a person of peace. He lived alone. He didn't have anyone to invite to his baptism. But he's shared the Gospel regularly and with people that he had distant relationships with.. all in less than two months from beginning discipleship. I'm not sure I should pre-judge persons of peace anymore. :)
I'll be updating this post as the story continues.