In His Footsteps: Journeying Together in a community for jesus is a program inspired by Pope Francis’ 2019 apostolic exhortation on young adults and the 2018 Synod of Bishops on young people.
Charles Sheldon’s 1896 novel, In His Steps, depicts the lives of a minister and those who surround him in the small town of Raymond.
1. Shared Purpose and Vision
Many congregations and organizations struggle to clarify their identity and purpose. Often, even the smallest disagreements threaten to tear them apart. This is because when people lack a shared vision, their values and desires can get out of hand.
Inspiring a shared vision is one of the behaviors outlined in The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. When a group is working hard toward common goals and dreams, it is easier to keep going through challenges. Inspiring a shared vision takes time, commitment and practice. However, the rewards are worth it.
The first step in inspiring a shared vision is identifying your mission and vision. Your vision should describe what you hope to accomplish and how that will benefit the community you serve. Your mission covers values, too. Values are what make up your core beliefs and principles, and they help determine your priorities.
After identifying your mission and vision, you need to share it with the members of your congregation. The best way to do this is to create a culture of inclusion and engagement that encourages everyone’s input.
Congregations that do this will develop a shared vision for their Christian lives. This can take a variety of forms, from a mission statement to a set of themes that guide the congregation’s actions and priorities. A wonderful example is St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Minnesota, which has a vision of “The Way of Jesus.” Their eight themes—story, prayer, simplicity, discernment, reconciliation, hospitality, generosity and gratitude—provide touchstones for the congregation’s life together.
Another way to inspire a shared vision is by having an inspirational leader. This can be a pastor who believes in something very strongly and can engage the hearts of his or her congregation. It could also be a business owner who has a vision of making the world a better place and can inspire others to join the effort.
When people are like-minded, they share the same opinions or preferences. They can talk about kittens all day or jousting at the Renaissance Faire together, and they can get along perfectly well. When it comes to Christian life, we must all be like-minded if we are going to grow and serve in the Lord together. We need to be like-minded if we want to live as Jesus did and witness to the world of His salvation and love.
Like-mindedness means being on the same page about the Bible, interpreting Scripture in a similar way and having a shared understanding of what it says. It also means being able to speak the same language about the gospel and mission. It’s much easier to explain the good news to others when we all understand what it is and why it’s important.
Being like-minded is a part of the joy that Paul talks about in Philippians 4:4, where he exhorts Christians to “be of one mind, having the same love, being of one accord, and having the same purpose.” The goal is to have an overflowing cup of joy by experiencing the Lord through fellowship with other believers (Romans 12:12). It’s essential for our spiritual growth.
But what does this look like on a daily basis? Often, people who hear about building communities for Jesus eye each other as if they dropped in from another planet and hope you’ll change the subject. They fear that someone is going to tell them they have to sell all their stuff and move to the country where they’ll wear bib overalls and raise peanuts.
However, if you walk through Christian communities everywhere in the world today, you will see what they should be: people serving rather than being served; people sacrificing their comforts for the sake of the gospel; people putting up with and loving each other despite differences in background, education, social status and profession; like-minded people living the Christian faith together. This is a powerful witness to the world around them. Let’s be willing to make this happen in our own communities.
It can be easy to think of prayer as a solitary endeavor, a conversation between you and God. It can even be challenging to pray in community if you are not used to it, or if the idea of praying aloud seems daunting. But there is value in being in community for prayer.
Praying in community helps us develop a deeper relationship with God. It also teaches us how to pray for others. Often when we are in community, it becomes easier to identify those who are struggling and to offer them encouragement and support. This is especially true for the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, and those who are isolated due to a disability or other circumstances.
Throughout the Bible, we see that prayer in communities brings about significant life change. For example, Joshua along with the elders of Israel (a community of leadership) prayed for God’s favor after the sin of Achan. Similarly, the book of Judges shows a pattern of God’s people falling into sin, then corporately crying out to Him for help and restoration.
When a church comes together to pray, it opens itself up to the power of God. There have been times in history where entire communities experienced revival, with crime rates dropping and suicides basically nonexistent. We believe this is because when a whole community dedicates every aspect of their lives to Jesus, they begin to experience His healing and transforming love.
The early Christians were known for their devotion to the apostles’ teachings, to fellowship, to prayer, and to loving one another. It’s no wonder that Jesus Himself promoted this sense of community, saying, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This includes not only how we treat each other, but also how we pray for and with each other.
4. Sharing the Gospel
It is vital to remember that sharing the gospel is a key part of being a Christ follower. Jesus tells us to “go and make disciples of all nations.” When we see people in our lives who need to hear about Christ, we should take the opportunity to share the gospel with them.
It can be intimidating to share the gospel, but we must trust that God is with us and that He will guide our words and our actions. The best way to prepare for this is by praying for wisdom. This also includes praying for the person you will be talking to, that they would be receptive to hearing about Jesus.
The gospel is the good news about who Jesus is and what He has done to save sinners. It is important to be able to explain the gospel in a clear and understandable way to others. A good way to do this is by using a simple analogy. This can help the person you are talking to relate it to their own life. Avoid using cliched Christian lingo when explaining the gospel – this can cause pre-believers to feel alienated and confused.
Having a personal story about how you came to faith is another powerful tool when sharing the gospel. Talking about your own struggles and how Christ saved you from them can show that the gospel is real and offers hope to anyone who believes in it.
You can also use questions to steer a conversation toward spiritual topics. For example, you might ask someone about their holiday traditions and why they celebrate them. This could lead to a discussion about the meaning behind those holidays and how they relate to Christ. You can even invite them to church and let them know how accepting God is of everyone regardless of their background or lifestyle.
It is important to remember that people from different cultures and faith traditions will respond differently to the gospel. This is why it’s important to adapt our message to each culture or faith tradition. When we are preparing to share the gospel, it is helpful to read the scriptures that Jesus used in each culture. This will give you an idea of the kind of questions and vocabulary to use.Author: JazzyExpert