"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people"
According the the gospel of Mark, this is the first thing Jesus said to his disciples. We see in Mark that he first called Andrew and his brother Simon (we know as Peter), and just a few verses later he sees James and his brother John. These men were fishermen. They made a living by selling the fish they would catch in their nets. Jesus at multiple times during his ministry interacts with the disciples professional expertise. Luke 5, Jesus teaches the crowds from one of their boats. Afterwards, He instructs them to cast off to deeper water and re-cast the nets. After explaining that they had not caught anything all night long, the disciples cast out the nets. The story tells us that the nets are so full of fish that they begin to break. Peter calls over James and John and together they fill both boats with fish. The boats were so full that they almost sink. When Jesus tells them that they will be fishers of men, I wonder if this event was fresh in their minds?
The basic truth is easy to see, with Jesus, this bad day fishing turned into the best fishing trip ever. So it is with us. Jesus promises to take our effort, and our core groups (huddles) and turn them into a meaningful fishing expedition. Our goal is not to land redfish and speckled trout, it is to uncover God's Spirit at work in the hearts of men and women around us. Our huddle is the core group of our Family on Mission. They are the men and women that form our “fishing for men” team. Our mission is to an open Family on Mission that welcomes whomever God will bring to us.
We want to set the stage for developing your extended family on mission. When we share the gospel, we are casting the seed of the gospel on the hearts of those who hear. As they respond, some negatively and some positively, we discover how God is working and who is responding to His call. But our mission is not just to celebrate their response, as glorious as it is. Our mission is to bring them into our family and train them to engage in His mission with us. While our huddle forms the core, our Family on Mission extends God's kingdom to those around us.
Disciple Makers constantly calibrate Invitation and Challenge. Pastor Julio described last night the dangers and blessings of being a leader that keeps these elements in view. You will see in the chart below how they relate to one another. We encourage you to start your larger group with High Invitation and Low Challenge, realizing that as your relationship and trust in one another grows so does your ability to Challenge one another. Discipleship needs both High Invitation (welcoming, grace) and High Challenge (obedience, goals).
So how do we get started? We start by praying for those people in our lives who are "close to us, but far from God." We pray that God will open their hearts to the movement of His Spirit. Finally we take action! We prepare to gather the harvest, by learning tools and strategies for sharing the hope of the gospel in meaningful and valuable ways. Simply put we Pray, Prepare, & Share (Gospel & Ourselves).
Below is a simple evangelism tool that has been very effective for helping people understand the heart of the gospel in only a few minutes. It is called the 3 Circles and is demonstrated in the video below.
Lastly we want you to think about how your huddle will gather for your first Family on Mission meeting? We suggest a gathering around food or some other natural friendly event. You should feel free to invite a good number of families and friends to come. We have found that a good group is made up of 6-10 families (this could count a single person or a full family). If you have large families, then 6 families may be the best number, if you have a number of single college students then maybe 10 families will be a good size.
Plan the first event to be mostly relational with very simple expectations. Share that you are hoping to start a group to learn more about following Jesus together. Share that you have been praying for each of them. Ask if they have any specific prayer requests that you can be praying over the next week. Be prepared to share the time and date of your 1st gathering.