Initiative | IF:Gathering


This week, we will discuss the discipleship pillar of initiative. This is the beginning of discipleship. In order to create and build relationships with people, we must initiate and move toward people.

When we consider our “woven” theme, initiation is where we start “weaving the net.” Each person is a string; as we initiate with others, our lives begin to intertwine. As we foster relationships, we do life together and walk alongside each other. The strings connect to form a strong bond. And because of this strong bond, discipleship becomes possible.

In order to be in relationship with people and make disciples, we must initiate. As you may know, initiate means to start something or to teach someone the basics of something. Similarly, initiative means, “the energy and desire that is needed to do something” (Merriam-Webster).

In order to initiate, we need to be intentional. When we are intentional, we start conversations with others, we see needs and meet them, we listen, we love, we serve, we give, and we care. Initiative is a “moving toward” people. This is the “Go” of the Great Commission.

Moving Toward
How do we move toward others? Let’s consider how Jesus moved toward us. In Ephesians 2:4–6, Paul said, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” In what ways has God moved toward us? He comes to us in our worst place, when we are spiritually dead, when we can do nothing—not even reach out a hand to Him.

When He comes to us, He makes us alive. He gives us life, breath, hope, vision, and a future. And He doesn’t stop there; He then raises us up with Him. He takes us to a better place—a place of fellowship with Him.

With the help of God and through discipleship, we have the opportunity to move toward others in all types of settings and situations. We can show others true life, breath, hope, freedom, grace, mercy, and love in the same ways Christ has shown it to us. This is our motivation. This is what compels us: Christ’s irrational love for us.

How Have Others Moved Toward You?
In order to fully understand initiating or moving toward others, think about the ways people have moved toward you throughout your life. Who are the people who have come alongside you during a difficult time? Who are the people who have celebrated with you? Who are the people who have shown you Christ? By initiating with others, we get to be those people who come alongside others and show them Christ through our actions.


Jesus has moved toward me with persistent love, patience, respect, with grace and compassion. He comes to me through the cross. He draws me close to Him through circumstances, by revealing Himself to me in nature, His Word, His provision & protection. He placed and filled a constant desire (even @ a young age) to know more about Him & to please Him. He draws me through His love. His comfort in pain and theough friendships and fellowship.

Jesus has drawn me closer to Him through the love of dear friends. Without them, I would not know the magnitude of his mercy & love for me. It's exciting to remember how simply those friends loved and cared for me, yet how mightily it transformed my life...Believing I too can love people simply well.

Amen Amanda! Also, I have friends who are also missionaries in Bangkok - the Fletcher family? They live in the Klong Toey slum and work with Urban Neighbours of Hope...just in case you've come across them in Bangkoks missionary circles!

Relationship with Him first and foremost and then relationship with others. I've been blessed with special friends and mentors coming into my life at just the right time. I've seen Jesus in others and through that it drew me closer to Him. This may sound simplistic but it's the very first thing the Holy Spirit brought to mind and heart this morning.

To paraphrase Paul's letter to Timothy, Jesus has moved towards me through my mother, Gwenda, my father, Neil, through my grandparents, Emily, Thomas, Marion and John, and then through various pastors and teachers, through my firends in the evangelical union at university, through my husband, especially, through godly women who have been my friends and mentors for over twenty years, now, and , in another way, in the 'inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these my brethren' way, through my students, and through others in need. He has been very close to me in the little adversities of my life, infertiltiy and a long illness, and the daily struggles of working life. It's definitely a case of 'without Him I should fall.' That quote from the hymn my sister and I sang the night we were baptised has reminded me how often Jesus has come near to me through the lyrics and music of hymn writers sharing their experience of Him.
here's the hymn, though I notice that this version doesn't use 'keeping His cross within my sight' . sad about that.

LOVE the new format, IF ladies. Thank you.

Only, where are the replies posted? It's a bit hard if we can't see the original comment when reading the replies. Nag, nag, nag, Jillian. I do apreciate being able to see the whole comment at once and not having to keep clicking back and forth between individual comments and the page.

ME too! Thanks so much for this update. Nice to be able to scan the whole message without have to do the "back page restore".

Jesus has drawn me closer to him through disciples who are filled with the Holy Spirit - I notice that it is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to make disciples:
When Jesus was commissioning his disciples in Acts 1, He said, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit. (4-5)... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (8)." It is the Holy Spirit that gives us power and boldness to make disciples & initiate.
You can see the difference the Holy Spirit made in Peters life when he went from being fearful of admitting his faith to slave girl when Jesus was crucified, to standing in front of the very angry mob that had Jesus crucified, preaching the gospel boldly, seeing thousands put their faith in Jesus & healed and people are astonished at Peter's boldness.
It's also true in Jesus' own life that he didn't start his own ministry of making disciples until he was filled with the Spirit - we saw the Holy Spirit as a dove fall on him when he was baptised, and straight afterwards, he began his 3 year ministry making disciples.
For me, it's through other disciples who have been filled with the Spirit initiating who have made me into a disciple.
On a personal note, today I am initiating and I could use your prayers! My sister in law (to be) isn't a Christian, has no faith background and my brother is very uncomfortable with faith - we don't talk about church or faith at all really so we're not very close because of it. Jenna needs huge healing, has fibromyalgia, hasn't worked in 8 years and is in bed all day, she's not sure if she'll be able to walk down the aisle or have the strength to carry her bouquet - she's planning on having a seat at the end of the aisle. Today I'm driving 2 hours today to go see her (using wedding prep as a cover mission!) while my brother is out at work. I want to share my faith with her and pray with her that God will do a miracle in her life and heal her completely of fibromyalgia. Would you pray too? That God would heal her, but also that I would be bold in sharing my faith? And that it would draw us closer, not enlarge the wedge between us? Thanks IF friends! Xx

Bless you Heather, with strong awareness of the Holy Spirit in you! Bless your sister in law with a wide open heart and physical healing. I feel your intense love of Jesus from far "across the pond", I am sure she will feel it in that same room with you!!! Will be thinking of you today, and looking forward to an update! Father God, lead Heathers words!

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