A good while back I interviewed my friend Steve Bremner for the churchmag podcast. I was thinking that his experience in being a missionary and entrepreneur (some people have combined those words in a horrible way I let you image or google) would be interesting for Churchmag’s readership but I was also aware that Jeremy from Churchmag had made reference to how different tech can be in developing nations compared to the developed ones. As such I asked Steve a few questions about that and I personally found that part of our chat more interesting.
The big idea I was left with is that sometimes (often) we overcomplicate things in the west with all our fancy technology.
Steve’s model for tech was basically
- using evernote and similar tools to prepare notes for classes and take them with him.
- Using facebook and cell phones to send messages inviting people to meet up
- meeting up face to face (often in people’s houses)
- eating together at the meet ups
- chatting together
- reading the bible together
- praying together
- going out
- rinse and repeat
Pretty simple really. Invite – Meet – Eat – Chat – Bible – Pray (and some worship in there). Honestly, it’s the sort of thing you could probably do today or tomorrow. Just send some people a message (maybe just one friend to start) meet up, eat a meal together, maybe read the bible, pray and then go out. I guarantee this will lead to growth.
So why don’t we
Well let’s be honest this has a few parts where it can break down.
We don’t meet
A big one here. We don’t meet up, we sit at home and make fancy word swag graphics, post Instagram pics declaring the glory of good, write a blog or whatever…but we never meet. We don’t have the time. We’re too busy, we’ve got kids at home, we have long workdays. we can’t meet up with other people.
Honestly, this is probably smelly poop. Yes we feel tired after work (I know I do) and yes we are busy but if we care about discipleship, we can make time for people at some point. If you work at irregular times (as I have for a while) then this will make it more difficult. we just have to try and find people like us and make the most of the time we do have…or maybe change our work?
This actually helps a lot with the previous point, we all need to eat so offering to meet someone for food is a great way to help them justify it. However, inviting people round and cooking for them takes time, it can be tiring and we need to do the shopping before hand. Well here are a few little ideas.
1. get take out (not budget friendly but saves time)
2. do a bring and share (saves budget a bit and reduces effort for everyone)
3. slow cookers (lots of food, less effort, prepare the morning before)
4. share the duties
People find it easy to chat, but there is a difference between regular small talk and chats that transform and change you. When we meet up, we should aim for the later. I know some people who have “no small talk” rules to force themselves to have more meaningful conversations. Here are a few ideas.
1. keep a list of powerful questions (not just “how are you”)
2. pray and ask the holy spirit to prompt your conversations (this can be before and during)
3. if it’s a friend, agree to push each other further, open your friendship up to going deeper
4. keep notes on your friends (I know this sounds stalker-ish but I have a terrible memory) follow up about those things when you next meet.
The bible is powerful, it’s full of wisdom as well as the stories of those who have gone before us. These stories contain lessons (good and bad) that we would be foolish to ignore. But when we meet others, it can remain left hidden and put away. There are two keys here,
1. Knowing the bible inside out
2. planning and intentionally studying
I would add keeping a bible at hand but I’m guessing this isn’t a problem for most Christians who have a version on their phones.
Prayer is powerful, it changes things and is a connection to the living God. But it is often neglected, Jesus charge against the money lenders at the temple was that “his house will be called a house of prayer” (matthew 21:13) but it didn’t live up to that title. Meeting with others and praying is powerful and so simple to do.
Will you put it into action?
All this stuff is worryingly simple. I say worryingly because really, we could all put it into action with very little effort and yet it looks so different to all the programs and events that we put on that move us far away from this model. So here’s the challenge to you, give it a go. Just once. Invite some people over for a meal, chat with them, pray with them and maybe open the bible with them.