While we would like to believe we can seamlessly move the cozy culture church into the discipleship quadrant, that is unrealistic. Ultimately, wherever you are, you will have to first dip into the other quadrants before getting where you want to be. If you are in the cozy quadrant you will have to dip into the stressed quadrant and maybe even the boring quadrant to get to the discipleship quadrant as you turn up areas of challenge. Some will not like it, but that is what strengthens us. Likewise, if you are in the stressed quadrant, you will need a higher invitation. For a moment it may feel cozy after so much stress until challenge is reintroduced. But when done with careful calibration you should land in the discipling zone. We can calibrate nearly everything we do through invitation and challenge from a vision for moving the church or person towards Christ down to each individual conversation.
Let’s consider one example of Jesus using Invitation and Challenge in a simple conversation from Matthew 16:13-20.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Here Jesus intentionally engaged with the disciples and it was lightweight. Jesus wasn’t asking for a well crafted theological answer. He simply asked, what have you heard from others? Invitation is about lightweight engagement. Invitation can be an invite to coffee. It could be a brief text: “Hey how are you doing?” But it can’t stop there. It should be followed up with a challenge. Maybe not in the same conversation or outting but in the near future.
Jesus’ next question contains a group challenge asking,
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
The challenge moves people to reflecting and responding. Not just thinking but doing. Simon Peter stepped into Jesus’ challenge and responded. Jesus blessed that and was then able to go further by depicting the life challenge of Peter’s calling.
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.”
Invitation & Challenge:
We invite you to follow along in this monthly article or get a hold of Pastor Kimberly or myself (Pastor J.P.) if you want to learn more.
We challenge you to begin to reflect on this concept of invitation and challenge in your personal relationships with others and even in daily conversations.
Peace and Grace,