July 17th, 2012 at 11:56 am
Being the Body-of-Christ with a new group of friends in the Oilfield can happen. It just two or three Christ-followers (and their not-in-church family & friends) to become a life changing “where-they-live” Body-of-Christ! They become His Heart, His Hands, His Voice and His Compassion among this group.
HOW TO BEGIN
I. Start with prayer! (Don’t skip lightly over the Biblical ideas in this paragraph).
Ask God to arrange encounters between you and the friends/acquaintances/strangers in whom He has been stirring up a deep spiritual yearning. This only happens through your praying & God’s connecting you to the persons He already sees! Pray about this everyday for seven days.
If no connections arise then have an hour long retreat with God. Read Acts 16:6-15. Lydia knew about God, but was not yet a Christ-follower. She was searching for life’s true answers. God knew how to connect Paul and her. Ask God to connect you with someone like that – the not-yet-Christian (or perhaps a been-out-of-church-for-awhile person) who is probably already looking “toward” God. Watch for the persons like “Lydia.”
Though only you and a Christian friend might be the core of the group, don’t let this become just a cozy club of Christians. Keep praying and sharing with whomever He brings your way until some are ready to journey with you in this group. It only takes a few. Trust His Spirit to connect you to the right ones and to have their hearts open. Don’t be overly anxious and substitute events to draw a crowd…just wait on HIM to connect you to God-hungry people! Their circle of relationships will be what draws more people in!
II. When just two or three people are ready, then begin meeting weekly. See Matthew 18:20.
Gather at a home, RV park, apartment, park, café, playground, picnic table, etc. – wherever the group will participate.
At the very first meeting, have coffee together and ask each person to tell where they are from, how long they’ve been at their current job site and what they like about helping develop an oilfield. Help each person begin to feel like they “fit in” with this group.
Then, in your own words share something like this: “As long as we’re all out here, I want you to be part of an on-site oilfield church (at my RV park, the park picnic tables, the apartment community room, the live oak tree by the burger shop – whatever place is free, easy to get to, and non-threatening). We’ll meet Sunday nights at 7 p.m. (or a time that fits the group), and I hope you’ll come anytime you’re off of your shift . It won’t be fancy, but we do want to help out each other as friends, we want to honor God in our lives and we want to help less fortunate people in some way.”
A group like this tries to do five basic things together:
1. Be really good friends.
How can you get the group to tell what God is doing in their lives or what the world is dumping on them each week? How can you get them to pray for each other? How can you get them to listen and encourage each other through hard days?
2. Worship God in some sincere way.
How can you get them to experience and talk about God’s greatness, power or love every time you gather? Would they be okay with singing a God song together? Could they look at a picture of a mountain, the ocean, a flower or a leper’s face and see the hand of God there? Is there a Bible verse about God that would remind them of His hand at work in their lives this very week?
3. Learn and grow in living like Jesus taught.
Pick a Bible verse (or verses) each week, about Jesus that you want to discuss as a group. Read each
verse and ask the group, “What does this say to you about life, God, others or self? And how do you intend to live this week because of what this verse says to you?” You guide the discussion to keep it on track, but let each person answer and talk openly.
4. Help others.
How could the group regularly help other people in some way? Provide school supplies for poor school children? Or shoes? Or coats? Help a new man set up? Give food to a homeless shelter? Or sandwiches to homeless men? Be sure a poor family has some gifts for the kids? Or a Thanksgiving turkey? How can they be a Good Samaritan to someone? You get the idea. When you find the ways to help, everybody likes to be a part of it in some way!
5. Share Christ’s love and good news with others.
How can the group include new people in their friendships, honoring God, learning and living like Christ or helping others? How can they keep asking God to arrange encounters between themselves and others in whom He has created a hunger for Christ? How can they always be sincere, never manipulative, and be sensitive to the needs of someone searching for life answers?
III. Once you begin living-out these five basics together you are living as the Body of Christ, THE CHURCH!
The Body of Christ…
HIS Hands, HIS Heart, HIS Voice, & HIS Compassion
among your family & friends
…this kind of living changes you, and changes them!