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Intentionality
By Dan Vis
April 09, 2018
Comments: 7

One of my favorite verses is Mark 3:14And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,. It tells how Jesus called twelve men to be "with him", with the plan of eventually sending them forth "to preach". It reminds me how Jesus is relational and wants to engage with us closely, and personally. But it also shows that He is purposeful and strategic. It shows intentionality.

Actually, Jesus had made His plans clear from the very beginning. When first calling His disciples months earlier, He made them a promise: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.). It was the same basic strategy: by following Christ and spending time with Him, these men would be transformed into powerful preachers, effective fishers of men.

And Jesus stuck to the strategy. He invested three and a half years of intense personal time with those chosen men, and then concluded His training with a clear call to mission:

"Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations." "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." "Ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth." "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

The instructions were clear: We've spent time together. You have followed me closely. The time has come for you to go forth and preach. It is time for you to become fishers of men.

It's time to repeat the process...

The Results

The results, of course, were powerful. Three thousand were baptized in a day (Acts 2:41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.). And additional members continued pouring in (Acts 2:47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.). Soon the number had swollen to thousands of families and Jerusalem was saturated with the Gospel (Acts 4:4Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand., Acts 5:28Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.).

And they replicated the intentionality of Jesus. From their base in Jerusalem, they kept their focus on training future leaders, and equipping them for service. These workers soon scattered everywhere (Acts 8:4Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.), planting new churches throughout the ancient world. And those churches, in turn, grew, raised up leaders, and sent them out further still. Within a generation, they had turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;).

As long as they remained intentional about raising up new workers through personal association, the church prospered.

Churches Today

Unfortunately, few churches are growing like this today. Rather, most mainline denominations are experiencing steady decline. The fastest growing denomination in the United States is barely keeping up with the population! Something is wrong.

Is it because we are not spending time with Jesus? Because we are not following Him? In some situations, this could be the issue. Is it because we are not aware of the mission? Not clear on our call to ministry? Perhaps in some cases. But I suspect the most common problem is simply that we are not intentional about following Christ's strategy.

Few churches have a focused plan that involves leadership investing extended time with carefully selected members of the congregation for the purpose of facilitating deep life transformation. And when we do commit to investing in another person, we rarely have a well-designed process that moves a person to evangelism, nor do we maintain our commitment long enough to ensure success.

What's needed today, is more of the exact process Jesus used. We should lay out our purpose openly, carefully select those hungry to grow, follow through on a focused training curriculum, and then empower and unleash those we train to a life of service. We need intentionality.

It's Not Easy

It's not easy to be intentional. It requires a clear vision. Rock solid conviction. A willingness to say no to things that might otherwise be good, but which fail to accomplish our purpose. It requires stedfastness and determination. And lots of prayer!

But if we are serious about the great commission, we need intentionality.

To help you cultivate intentionality, we're currently offering our Life Focus System class for FREE through the month of April. It teaches how to organize your days, weeks, months, and years to maximize planning, prioritization, and purpose. It gives you a carefully organized system to keep our life on track. To help you become more focused. More intentional.

To get back to the effectiveness of the New Testament church, we will need some tool to help us live more intentional lives. We pray this class can help!

Life Focus System

Comments

Do you see Jesus as intentional? How focused was He on training leaders? Do you see that intentionality in most churches today? What about your own life? What can we do to become more like Jesus in this area?

Posted by Qing Ling on 04/21/18

I recently read a book about the 'Gospel Driven Life', mentioning Gospel Driven Productivity. It promotes the pursuit of what I call "God-directed activity".

Knowing that the devil is cunning to ensnare us any which way possible, and myself having workaholic tendencies, I am mindful and appreciative of any reminders to focus on what is most important. Busy-ness is a trap the devil uses so that even something that is a good activity in and of itself, can still be a waste of time (sin of poor stewardship of God's gift of Time to us) if it is not what God intends for us to spend our efforts and attentions/time on. Prayerfully seeking God and committing my day to Him each morning is my safeguard. I love the Hymn that goes: "Take my Life and Let it Be Consecrated Lord to Thee". The Life Focus System course is great training - thanks for making it available, Dan. And at just the right time- in the 2nd quarter of the year when the energies and excitement from the start of the year start to wane...

Posted by Dan Vis on 04/10/18

Great posts everyone! That is a beautiful quote, isn't it Pam? Guaranteed success if we just cooperate. :)

Rebecca Kohl, I believe this is the only way the work can be finished. And it can't just be pastors or even elders. We can all take someone under our wing and do what we can to begin helping them grow. But like you said, we just need a plan and a willingness to act on it!

And you are so right Carole that the shortness of time should create in us a greater intensity and focus. Intentionality--and so much the more as we see the day approaching! (Hebrews 10:24-2524 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.).

Posted by Carole Bliss on 04/10/18

Jesus was so focused on His mission. We know time is short, we know we need to stay focused. Its so easy to get distracted on "other things". We have to daily seek first the Kingdom Of God. Keep asking for His direction. This is a very important message.
Thank-you,

Carole

Posted by Rebecca Kohl on 04/10/18
I love this reminder to craft a plan and then put it into motion using the leadership example of Jesus. I especially like the idea of leadership spending time with select members to grow them into leaders.
Posted by Pamela Kendall on 04/10/18

The intentionality of Jesus in Mark 3:14And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, is very interesting... I hadn't really thought of it like that. I like the thought that as Jesus is discipling me, as he intentionally spends time with me, he has a definite goal in mind and he will be patient and invest all the time that is needed to develop me into what he wants me to be. Now if I can just develop the intentionality and perseverance to be faithful in following him, faithful in spending that time with him, that is needed!

Awhile back someone on the FAST site posted this beautiful quote... it promises that if we cooperate with him he will INSURE that we meet his purpose for us.

The thoughts and ways of God in relation to His creatures are above our finite minds; but we may be assured that His children will be brought to fill the very place for which they are qualified, and will be enabled to accomplish the very work committed to their hands, if they will but submit their will to God, that His beneficent plans may not be frustrated by the perversity of man. {PP 638.1}

Posted by Dan Vis on 04/09/18
Thanks Suzi for your commitment! The wheel is so important, isn't it? May God richly bless your efforts...
Posted by Suzi Woods on 04/09/18
Yes Jesus was focused and intentional in training leaders! Our churches could benefit greatly from trying to imitate Jesus ! I too need to be more intentional as a witness but especially in training some one else to follow the disciples wheel!

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