Dallas and Discipleship
By Junius B. Dotson
This was originally broadcast LIVE on August 2nd. Fast-forward past the 5 minute preview video.
LIVE: Dallas and DiscipleshipRev. Junius B. Dotson shares THREE WAYS to engage unchurched people in your community during times of tragedy. This was originally broadcast LIVE on August 2nd. Fast-forward past the 5 minute preview video.
Posted by Discipleship Ministries on Tuesday, August 2, 2016
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Turning to Churches during Times of Crisis
What can we learn in the aftermath of a tragedy, or in the midst of a community crisis?
The message following the tragic ambush of a peaceful justice rally in Dallas was clear: City officials did not call for more government. They reached out to the faith community and called for a day of prayer.
Following that day of prayer, it was the church that led the community in dialogue and discussion about the lone sniper who fired shots that killed five police officers and injured nine others, including two civilians.
It was the church that brought people together for healing and to talk about the way forward. In a sign of hope, it is a reminder that the community needs the church, and the church has a vital role to play in the shaping of its community.
The community specifically needs your church, and I want to share three takeaways for how we can more effectively disciple people in the midst of tragedy or a crisis.
First, we should expect people to turn to the church during times of crisis, and we have to be ready to receive them. That means we have to be ready to be a spiritual covering for people who are hurting, for people who are praying, for people who are seeking to be healed in the midst of a crisis or after a tragedy.
We should expect people to turn to the church during times of crisis, and we have to be ready to receive them.
We need to be invitational when things are happening in our community, and we must let people know that, “Hey, this is a place that's going to speak to what you are feeling in your life at this particular moment.”
When people come, we have to be relevant and speak to the loss. We have to offer people a sense of hope for their future.
What this simply means is that we have to have the courage to address the issues that are before us. It is great to have a time of prayer in a worship experience. It is great to have a time of silence, but it is also wonderful to have the courage to address the issues that people are dealing with.
I am very proud of a resource that we are offering at Discipleship Ministries called Courageous Conversations. What I really appreciate about this resource is that it gives us concrete and practical ways to bring people together to talk about difficult issues and about concrete ways that people in our community can do something in the midst of a tragedy or crisis. You can go to our website (www.umcdiscipleship.org) and get Courageous Conversations.
We must be an intentional presence in the life of our communities. We have to be active.
The third takeaway is that we must be an intentional presence in the life of our communities. We have to be active.
There is no shortcut to being a trusted leader in a community. You have to show up. Show up at community meetings and in times of celebrations. Show up when people are having courageous conversations. We must be active in our community.
What I am suggesting to you is that discipleship begins not inside of the four walls, but it begins outside of the church. Discipleship begins when we are in relationship with people.
We have to create a culture in our churches that is evangelistic and invitational.
Discipleship begins when we are introducing ourselves to others. We have to create a culture in our churches that is evangelistic and invitational.
What concrete ways does your church offer for people to be equipped for the inevitable? We know that another crisis is going to happen. We know that another tragedy is going to happen. The time to be active is right now.