THE 1311 CHALLENGE
Here’s a big idea: followers of Jesus should live lives that show who He is and are marked by growth and transformation. But how do we make that happen? How does God’s church make this happen in the lives of its people?
Let’s think of this word: engagement. An “engagement” is something we take seriously—more seriously than an “appointment.”
You never had a young woman stick out her hand, show and ring and say, “We have an appointment to get married!” It’s an engagement. No, you have an appointment to get your teeth cleaned. We take that word a lot more seriously.
So what are the “engagements” that we’re asking people to do that helps a church be a church where people reconnect with God, realign their lives and revitalize their world? We call it it the 1311 Strategy.
Our Personal Spiritual Growth Strategy: the 1311 Strategy
The number 1311 comes from six engagements that we’re asking people to commit to—six engagements that facilitate us reconnecting with God, realigning our lives and revitalizing the world. Here they are:
One engagement daily with God, to read His word, pray and worship
Three engagements weekly with God’s people, for worship, for a small group and for service
One engagement monthly with someone far from God to share your faith—someone who doesn’t yet know Christ as savior.
One engagement annually with God’s mission for service and outreach. Some concentrated period of time—more than an hour, more like several days…like VBS or going to camp as a counselor or going on a mission trip.
2 Corinthians 13:11 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” That’s the outcome of the 1311 life!
1311: 1 plus 3 plus 1 plus 1 equals 6. That gives us Six Engagements.
The Six Engagements urge us on to worship, spiritual growth, fellowship, unity, peace and the powerful presence and love of God.
A house made from brittle bricks can’t be strong. A church is only as strong as the faith, commitments and deeds of the people who make it up. You can’t have a strong church made up of weak Christians. You can’t have a strong church led by immature Christians. We all know that people are at different places in their spiritual development.
This means that the church gives priority to equipping people to live a 1311 lifestyle. It means giving people the tools they need to have a personal time with God. It means great worship and great small groups. It means plugging people into roles of service. It means training people on how to share their faith. It means prayerfully finding very specific ways for people to serve the community in the name of the Lord and to share your faith in a concentrated way.
Spiritual growth. I think back to the Bible studies I was in while in High School and college. That’s what really forged me into who I am now. When I started college, there was a senior there named Keith. Keith had built up the college Christian fellowship from almost nothing over the previous three years. One of the things he and another guy, Rob, had done was figure out that in a four year college, you didn’t have a lot of time. Their idea was get somebody into the fellowship and into a Bible study within a year, and within two more years make them a Bible study leader. Then they had maybe two years max to pass that on.
A limited time—four years. Our time isn’t as limited, but it’s limited the same. Charles Colson often reminded us that the Christian faith is always just one generation away from being extinct.
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:1-2 says,
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
Let me tell you a story. A cruise ship stopped at a small Caribbean island and some Christians on board couldn’t help but notice how this island was so different from the other places they’d landed. They asked a waiter at a restaurant. “Oh, everything here is different since Pastor John came to the island.” They asked where Pastor John lived, so he took them to a medical clinic. “He started the clinic,” he said, but they didn’t see Pastor John. So they went to a school. “He started the school,” he said. But they didn’t see Pastor John. So they went to the church. “He started the church,” he said. But they didn’t see Pastor John. “Where is Father John right now?” one of the cruise passengers asked. “Oh, I’ll show you,” the islander asked. He led them to Pastor John’s tombstone. “His body is here, but he lives all over the island.”I guarantee you that Pastor John had a 1311 kind of commitment--and that commitment transformed that island. This is how we who follow Jesus change the world.