Revolution is going to turn 5 years old this Sunday. It is really hard to believe that the church God birthed in me 13 years ago while living in Chicago actually came to be with 11 people who prayed and dreamed together in Tucson, AZ. Over the coming week as we gear up towards Sunday I thought I’d share some of the dreams that drove us to start Revolution and still drive us to this day.
Yesterday we looked at our dream of helping people become who they were created to be. Today, going hand in hand with that is helping people take their next step with Jesus.
Our culture loves the idea of goals and resolutions. Everyone makes them every year in January. We talk about the future, what things will be like, what we will accomplish, how next week, next month and next year will be better. The sad thing about all of this is that very few people actually stick with their goals and resolutions or see any change because of them.
One of the ways I evaluate the effectiveness of my sermon or the sermons of those who preach is the amount of next steps that are taken. Each week when I am preparing a sermon one of the most important question I need to answer is, “Because of this truth in Scripture, what do I want them to do, what is this calling us to?” Those are my next steps.
At the end of my sermon before communion, I ask everyone to pull out their connection card and walk them through the next steps. Each week we point out taking the step of following Jesus or getting baptized and then the specific next steps for that week based on the sermon. It doesn’t end there though. Each person who fills out a connection card with their next steps gets an email from me with some ideas on how to accomplish those next steps. For example, if it is memorizing a verse, I give them ideas on scripture memorization. If it is forgiving someone, I’ll share a story of how I applied that truth in my life. Then, our staff and elders pray over those next steps that week as they move forward. We also encourage our MC’s to talk through the next steps people take each week to give it some accountability that is personal.
For us, it is a failure if we have no next steps. For this reason, preaching and discipleship is not just about dispensing information. Many pastors see this as the goal of preaching. The goal of preaching is transformation. If transformation is happening, lives are changing, which means, people are taking steps to Jesus. Churches and pastors need to help their people define what those steps are, give them resources for them and hold them accountable.