The season of Lent begins on Wednesday.
Lent has traditionally been a time of preparation for baptism. The early Christians utilized the time before Easter to prepare to be baptized on Easter morning. The preparation could be an intense time of self-exploration, wonder, and questioning.
No doubt, the preparation was also a holy time. People were learning what it meant to be disciples of Jesus.
I got to thinking about what it would mean to prepare people for baptism this Lent. There are two actions I’d take as we journey together this Lent.
- First, we’d engage together in a discipline of reading, reflecting, and responding to God. You can find out more and download the Get Real Guide.
- Second, we’d explore a pathway of discipleship together.
Disciple-Making Pathway Questions
Disciple-making is an ongoing journey of becoming who God would have us be. Here are the questions we’d reflect on with people preparing to be baptized and leaders of the congregation.
- How are you and your congregation reaching out and receiving new persons? For the people preparing for baptism, I’d ask them to share how they came to be a part of this congregation. Then ask the current members joining you in the conversation how they became a part of the congregation.
- How is your congregation connecting with the people of your community, developing relationships, and engaging persons in service and care? Explore here their relationships with others throughout the congregation.
- What would happen if you began to pray, “O God, send us the people no one else wants and help us receive the people you send to us?” How about we find out? Include this in your prayers for the weeks ahead.
- How are you and your congregation intentionally offering opportunities for people to make commitments to Christ? Something happened that led people preparing for baptism to this moment. Listen to their story and share your stories.
- How are you leveraging the relationships of people in your congregation to develop relationships in your community?
- What are you doing to equip people in your congregation to tell their God stories? Everyone has a story. What is yours?
- What would happen if you began to pray, “O God, make us the church this community needs and give us the courage to be who you would have us be?” Here’s another prayer for your Lenten disciplines.
- How are you and your congregation growing in faith? Again, with the Get Real Guide close at hand, pause together and answer a few of the questions.
- Are you participating in regular Bible study, prayer, learning, sharing, and accountability? That’s what the Get Real Guide is all about.
- Are you reading the scripture, reflecting upon it, and responding to it? You’re correct, the Get Real Guide outlines this pattern for you to engage.
- In your congregation, is every ministry an opportunity to reflect and respond to God’s presence in the community? Perhaps as you share together you’ll celebrate the ministries that point to God’s presence. Along the way, you might even identify places you’d like to serve in ministry.
- What would happen if you focused more on participating on the mission of making disciples and less on meeting the preferences of the church members? No, that’s not a rhetorical question. Really, what would happen?
- How are you and your congregation engaged in serving others in the community in which your church is located? Perhaps you’ll serve together this Lent.
- How are you blessing others, meeting people in their place of need, and offering gifts of compassion, love, and justice?
- What would happen if the people in your congregation, even those who live outside the community in which you are located, were engaged in the community (schools, city or community leaders, safety personnel, etc.)?
Imagine what might happen come Easter if we were welcoming, inviting, nurturing, and engaging people in the process of disciple-making while practicing together the disciplines of faith.
As we begin the journey of Lent, let’s be intentional about the journey ahead. We have forty days, plus Sundays, to get real about disciple-making.
I know where my focus will be. I’ll be focused on the questions above and Get Real. Where will you focus this Lent?