I just finished reading “Gaining By Losing”, by J.D. Greear. What a challenging book for Christians. Here’s a summary that is taken directly from the book as J.D. Greear has written it. Enjoy………
I believe that every church, every ministry, and every follower of Jesus Christ ought to be devoted to planting, giving away, what they have for God’s kingdom. I am not against large churches; I pastor one. But as I will show you in this book, I believe that churches that give away both their people and their resources are the churches that will expand the kingdom of God into the future.
Churches that want to “prevail against the gates of hell” must learn to see themselves like aircraft carriers, not like battleships and certainly not like cruise liners. Members need to learn to share the gospel, without the help of the pastor, in the community and start ministries and Bible studies, even churches, in places without them. Churches must become discipleship factories, sending agencies that equip their members to take the battle to the enemy.
Motivation for mission grows out of deep, personal experience with the gospel. When we are amazed at the grace God showed in saving us, going to great lengths to save others seems an insignificant thing. We yearn to see the glory of our saving God spread throughout the earth and others find in Christ what we have found.
Every Christian has at least two major callings: (a) the call to use your vocation for the glory of God and the blessing of others, and (b) the call to make disciples. Thus, every believer should ask these two questions about their lives:
1. What skill has God given me by which I can bless the world?
2. Where and how can I do it most strategically to advance the mission of God?
At our church, we simplify these two questions into a single statement: Whatever you’re good at, do it well for the glory of God, and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God. This is where you must begin in order to understand how you are to live sent lives.
Most leaders, when you press them, will acknowledge that evangelism has both attractional and missional dimensions. Faithful churches, in other words, seek to grow deep and wide. Pursuing width without depth creates audiences instead of churches, but pursuing depth without width fails to take the urgency of the Great Commission seriously. In fact, churches that only seek to grow wide and not deep are probably not nearly as wide as they think they are because heaven counts disciples, not congregants or confessions of faith. And churches that attempt to grow deep with no concern for growing wide are probably not as deep as they think they are either because depth in the gospel always leads to a yearning for, and usually an effectiveness in, evangelism.
The church is God’s demonstration community. Our works don’t replace the verbal preaching of the gospel, but in them we demonstrate, tangibly, the love and grace that we proclaim with our mouths. Effective gospel preaching is explaining with our words what we demonstrate with our lives. In our service, we make visible the invisible Christ. God has called us to bring joy to our city the way Philip brought joy to Samaria (Acts 8:4–8) by preaching the gospel of peace to the city and demonstrating its power to heal and bless through acts of extravagant generosity.
To reach more people, we don’t need better gathering techniques; we need better discipleship. Larger audiences and more “decisions for Christ” are just not cutting it. If we are going to move the mission needle in America, we have to turn unbelievers into church leaders, atheists into missionaries. We have to get good at making disciples.
The good news is that making disciples is fairly easy. You simply bring people along in your spiritual journey. Making disciples is more about intentionality than technique: Discipleship means teaching others to read the Bible the way you read it, pray the way you pray, and tell people about Jesus the way you do. If you have Christian habits in your life worth imitating, you can be a disciple maker. It doesn’t require years of training. You just teach others to follow Christ as you follow him.
What a tragedy it would be if we spent our whole life busy in ministry but overlook the one thing Jesus told us to do, the one thing Jesus said would advance the mission. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and feel that I spent my life crazy busy doing a lot of ministry stu , but never accomplishing the one thing Jesus said I must do, the one thing that can advance the Great Commission: making disciples.
The Spirit moves the church. He is the mighty rushing wind that filled the church in Acts 2, and his torrential gospel winds are still blowing today. We just have to put up the sail and keep our flesh out of the way. As Martin Luther said of the Reformation, we just preach the Word of God, yield to the Spirit, and let God do his work.
Our response to the Word and the Spirit takes three primary forms, and I share them by way of conclusion:
• Faith and obedience: Born out of a confidence in the goodness of God.
• Love for God’s kingdom, not our own: Souls are precious. They are more valuable than our tiny kingdoms. God’s glory is more important than our reputation. When we are lifted up, people admire us for a moment, and then they forget us. When Jesus is lifted up, people get saved for eternity. The “talents” we invest in Jesus’ kingdom may never come back to us in this life, but we will reap the rewards of them for eternity.
• The courage to risk: God rewards those who, in submission to his Word and under the direction of his Spirit, make great attempts in his name.
As we embrace these things personally and hold them up before whatever people we lead, there will be no stopping the sending church. With the Spirit of God in our hearts and the promises of Jesus at our backs, even the gates of hell will not prevail against us. Jesus has placed the seed in your hand. You can either hang onto it, or you can sow it. There is only one wise choice.
Interested in purchasing the book? You can get it here: http://amzn.to/2d7E1Eg