The eighth and last dimension of a disciple that Logan and Ridley list in The Discipleship Difference is COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION. This means “personal involvement with others to facilitate positive change where you live — and beyond.” (The Discipleship Difference, p. 31)
For many, this is one of the more neglected aspects of being a disciple. One barrier is despair. We look around and wonder, “How could I possibly make a difference?” There are too many problems, and the problems seem insurmountable.
For others, the problem is more theological. “Isn’t our priority supposed to be caring for souls of people? What good does it do if we feed peoples bodies, but don’t tell them about Jesus?”
Years ago I heard John Wimber teach from Luke 4:18-19. Take a look at it here:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
As John walked us through this passage he emphasized that our mission needs to be a BOTH / AND mission that includes BOTH the spiritual needs of people AND the physical needs of people. Conservatives have traditionally interpreted the poor to be those who are “poor in spirit” and the blind to be those who are “spiritually blind to the truth about Jesus”, etc. These are true descriptions of the spiritual needs that everyone has, and we don’t ever want to neglect these needs. At the same time, John said we are sent to people who are literally poor. And we can’t BRING the good news unless we first BECOME the good news in caring for needs of the poor.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Even before Jesus returns, in faith we work towards his rule and reign. And the good news is that “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new’!” Rev. 21:5
Here are some behaviors that go along with COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION:
- Participating in a faith community that reaches outside of itself
- Praying for healing and reconciliation in society
- Involving yourself in social justice needs in the broader community
- Caring for God’s creation in practical ways
- Helping others cultivate healthy lives and relationships
(The Discipleship Difference, p. 31)
QUESTION: HOW COULD YOU BE A BLESSING TO YOUR TO YOUR COMMUNITY IN A WAY THAT REFLECTS JESUS LOVE FOR ALL MANKIND?