Across America, many churches, Baptist associations and networks of churches have developed, defined and declared their “2020 vision” – a “what could be” and a plan to accomplish the “what.” But, what about you and your family? What about a very personal “2020 kingdom vision?”
Jesus gave every disciple a mandate to make disciples among all people groups (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) and to love God above all else and love one’s neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40). But, during this year how will you as a disciple put Jesus Christ’s mandates into action? How will you go beyond learning about the Kingdom of God and be a hands-on, participating resident of the kingdom?
If your local church has a kingdom vision for 2020 to make disciples and demonstrate God’s love, then visit with your pastor or church leaders about how you can tangibly put your head, heart and hands to work. If your church does not have a well-defined vision and plan, then resolve in your own heart to engage yourself and your family in an intentional kingdom effort. Here is a simple process to get you and your family started:
1) Pray. Ask the Lord to place certain individuals or families on your mind, with whom you already have a relationship, who do not yet know Jesus. These could be friends, neighbors, coworkers, individuals or families you know through ball teams, gymnastics or school.
2) Build a shortlist of just a few names. Then place the list in a semi-permanent place where you will see it several times a day.
3) Set a time to daily pray for each person or people group on your list.
4) Ask the Lord to show you how to begin engaging each one on the list in a more personal relationship, which can lead to gospel conversations.
5) In February, how will you intentionally and clearly show Christ’s love to each of these people?
6) In March, how can you engage each of these people in an activity that might lead to more personal conversations about life? Maybe have them over to your home for dinner? How about a game night?
7) In April or May set aside another time to get together in your home.
8) In the summer months, consider a short road trip to a ballgame or other attraction. You might also consider taking them to a fun interactive activity with your church family. Continue building a genuine relationship.
9) By this time, you will be well-aware of some of their life circumstances for which you can privately pray. Begin sharing with them how God has carried you through difficult times, His love and His faithfulness. Talk about the wisdom and direction found in the Bible.
10) Share your personal testimony of how you learned the truth about who God is, realized your own sinfulness, understood that life was meaningless without a relationship with the Creator, but, how Jesus lived and died to take your punishment for sinfulness, then how Jesus rose from the dead, proving who he was and conquering death. Tell them how you confessed your sinfulness to God and pledged your life to Him, surrendering your life under the authority of Jesus Christ.
The timetable above might be shorter or longer – it is provided only as an example. The point is to be intentional this year about having a vision for the gospel and intentionally following the commands of Christ to part in His kingdom’s work.
Eric W. Ramsey is associate pastor of First Baptist Church, Fort Smith.
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