I remember the feelings of urgency in wanting to make up for what I had sometimes felt as “lost time” all the while trying to find my footing in a new land with a new language and a new pace. As I met people who loved Jesus and enjoyed fellowship, I grew in excitement on what the Lord would do these coming years and the privilege He has given me to run with those I was meeting. I had a vision, a picture of how God was leading and now it was time to hop in the trenches and learn how to take steps toward that end.
What was the need? I started to meet with a group of people who loved Jesus, yet I quickly learned about the discomfort and insecurity most had when it came to sharing why they believe in Jesus. I thought to myself, okay great, here is where we need to start. We must grow in confidence and competence in sharing our story and God’s story with one another so that we can increase boldness to share it with others far from God. I was excited and felt that everything was clear.
Yet nothing was working. I tried breaking down simple tools. I tried demonstrating. I asked questions. I was laboring. Was this the reality I was supposed to accept? Was I suppose to chalk this up to cultural differences? I sought Jesus on what to do. How do you equip people? Aha. Is that the right question I need to be asking? I felt like God saying to me, who does the equipping?
In the beginning of Mark, Jesus’ first words state, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” I realized I had a group of people who didn’t know how to follow Jesus. We can’t manufacture ourselves to be fisher’s of men. The Holy Spirit must have room to that work in us. As God led us to take the focus off of being equipped as fishers of men and moved it towards the Father’s heart, a beautiful reality unfolded. We were all falling in love with Jesus. Students were enjoying their relationship with God reading the word, wanting more time in prayer and even fasting. And as the Holy Spirit taught us to follow Him, we had more opportunities to share our faith as life was happening.
We still need tools. Yet I am learning the necessity to cultivate a culture whose motivation is for following the King.