Michael learned from his Disciple-Making Community about the importance of meeting needs of unbelievers. He took it to heart and reached out to his friend, which led to a Discovery Study!
The Importance of Meeting the Needs of Unbelievers
A few months ago, a now-former coworker of mine named Alexander was laid off. During a Disciple-Making Community I attended, Joleene had talked about one of the core habits of a disciple-maker—meeting needs in the community. By serving and meeting the needs of unbelievers in our lives, we show the love of Jesus tangibly to them and pave the way for relationship and invitation into God's Word.
Joleene explained how servitude can prompt questions out of people such as, "Why are you doing this for me?" In response, a disciple-maker leads into a spiritual conversation: "Well, I've been reading stories from the Bible lately, and God says that I should do good for people in my life." These kinds of conversations provide natural onramps to invite people into reading God's Word.
Taking My Co-Worker Out to Dinner Led to DBS
With this in mind, I reached out to Alexander after the meeting. I told him, "Hey Alexander, sorry to hear about what happened at work. Could I buy you dinner some time?"
Alexander was taken aback. "Yeah! That's really cool of you to offer. That'd be great!"
Through that interaction, I had the same conversation, almost verbatim, that Joleene had suggested. I told him the reason I wanted to reach out was because God's Word said I should care for those around me.
Alexander grinned. "Dude, that's so odd! Me and my girlfriend just had a conversation about God the other day!"
"Oh! Well, if you're interested, we could do a Bible study together. What do you think?" Alexander excitedly accepted my invitation.
Profound Truth and Obedience from a Non-Believer
Since then, Alexander and I started a Discovery Bible Study together. One illuminating point is that Alexander has no religious background at all. He has never read the Bible before, so his comments on what we read are always interesting and sometimes humorous. One of my favorite moments with him was when we read Genesis 3.
When we read that God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden, he commented, "That seems pretty harsh! All they did was eat the fruit! And God is telling them they're going to die and never come back to the garden?"
However, I continued to lead him through the questions. When I asked him, "What does this teach us about God?"
"You know," Alexander admitted, "God actually clothes them though—all they had were fig leaves but God killed an animal for them to have better clothes. I guess there's some mercy in addition to the harshness!"
I got a kick out of Alexander's final takeaway from the passage: "God is kind of a hard-a**, but He cares."
Alexander always impressed me with his ability to practically obey the Word. One application from Genesis was that he would go around his neighborhood to pick up trash. Another time, he saw that a family member in Mexico liked his sweatshirt, so he said he would send them one.
Later, when we read about Abraham sacrificing Isaac, Alexander found it interesting how God gave Abraham a son, but also asked for the life of his son Isaac back. He noted that, nonetheless, God provided for Abraham by giving him a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac. "God provides, but He sometimes tests us in ways we don't always understand," Alexander pondered.
Alexander's "I Will" obedience statement pertained to how he had been worrying about being able to pay rent that month. He committed to recall and reread the story of Abraham and Isaac whenever he stressed about rent. I am excited to see how God will continue to draw Alexander to Himself in obedience and truth!
Lessons Learned from Alexander's story:
One crucial habit for disciple-makers is meeting the needs of people in your community. This is the way Jesus did ministry—He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and helped those in need, spiritually and physically. Helping people in practical ways displays the love of Jesus and opens opportunities for spiritual conversations and invitation to Discovery Bible Studies. Michael's simple act of offering dinner meant a lot to Alexander and gave Michael the opportunity to share why he wanted to reach out.
Start your own Disciple Making Community!
Want to start a community of disciple-makers like Joleene and Michael's? Listen to "Disciple Making Community Basics" or contact us so that we can coach you on how you can start one in your area.