Day 2 Bible Study: Find Your Sheep

JESUS goes to HIS SHEEP

Jesus went to Peter, James and John

Let’s read the passage below from the book of Luke:

 

“5 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”[a] 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

Luke 5:1-11

 

Did Jesus expect his audience, Peter, James and John to find him, or did he go to them? 

 

To what extent did Jesus go to these men? Did he just go to their town?

Jesus Went To The Samaritan Woman

Let’s examine another Passage from John 4: 

 

4 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?  8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)”

In the passage above, Jesus did not just go to Sychar. He went to a community gathering place, the well. Gathering places are central community locations where people go regularly to meet lifes needs. 

 

Jesus doen’t just go to the Samaritan woman in a physical sense. He also broke many Jewish and cultural rules to go to this woman. 

 

Jesus went into Samaria, an area that the jews avoided because it was inhabited by the Gentiles. The women even says this to Jesus in the passage in verse 9 when it says:

 

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.).”

 

Jesus publicly spoke to a woman which was not acceptable. We can see this from verse 27:
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

Jesus did not follow the “rules” of culture, geography, or religion when it came to reaching those God called him to reach out too.  

 

Furthermore, Jesus was talking to a Gentile woman, who had multiple husbands. 

 

In this story, Jesus is so dedicated to finding his sheep that he not only went to a geographic area that was off limits, he also spoke to a person who was both unclean and culturally unacceptable to speak with. 

 

Jesus went some more

Read the following passages and write down how each one indicates that Jesus went to his lost sheep: 

Mark 1:38: “Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.'”

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Matthew 9:35: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.”

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Mark 6:34: “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”

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John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

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Philippians 2:7-8 (though not a Gospel verse, it beautifully illustrates this theme): “but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

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Church Focus Vs Sheep Focus

The word Ecclesia is the root word of the modern translation of “Church” in 114 places in the new testament. The Etymology of the Greek word Ecclesia has nothing to do with a building.

 

According to Britanica Ecclesia or Greek Ekklēsia is accurately translated as “gathering of those summoned”.

 

In ancient Greece, citizens of a city-state would be called out of their homes to gather in a public space for any number of reasons. When they gathered, this was called an Ecclesia.


In our modern world, we often over emphasize the importance of a church building. While there is nothing inherently wrong with having a Sunday service in a church building, the church is not the ecclesia, it’s the gathering of the people who are the ecclesia. The church is wherever you and I are. If your church gathers on a random street corner, or in a third world country, that’s where the church is. When we see the church in the more western, building oriented lense, we tend to develop another belief about church growth: 

When we think of a building as the church, we tend to believe that the sheep we are called to reach should come to us – Brett Henderson

 

Day 2 Reflection

Jesus was so dedicated to going after the lost sheep of Israel that he did not even take the time to establish a place from which to do ministry. 

 

Matthew 8:20: “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'”

 

Again, none of this is to suggest that ministry leaders should not have a central location for their ministry. In the new testament we see a number of house churches acting as central meeting points for believes. 

 

We should emphasize however, that many churches have the expectation that lost sheep should show up on Sunday morning to a church building. This is not what we see modeled in Jesus’ ministry. 

 

To reach lost sheep you must be among the lost. 

 

Knowing who it is that God has specifically called your ministry to reach, take some time to consider where this group of people can be found? Are they near your church or far away? __________________________________________

 

Are they online or offline?__________________________________________

 

Where does your audience gather out of necessity? Does your specific audience gather at a well like the people in Samaria? Grocery stores? Farmers markets? __________________________________________

 

Do they gather at a mall, on a specific social media platform or consistently use specific digital products or services? _____________________________________________________________

 

Where do they spend leisure time? Do they enjoy coffee shops or tea houses? Do they take their kids to a playground or do they enjoy shopping at a local mall? Do they enjoy extreme sports like paintball, martial arts, mountain biking, etc? 

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Do your sheep work in a specific area? Are they fishermen, stock brokers, entrepreneurs, miners, auto industry workers? Look for commonalities amongst the people God has called you to reach. 

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The more specific you can be, the easier it is to find your sheep. 

The second step Jesus took to grow his ministry was to constantly go out to where his audience could be found in their daily lives. He did not expect them to come to him, in his home church/synagogue. 

 

People cannot find you and follow you if they don’t know you exist. The majority of the people in your community are not looking for you, and so they cannot follow you and your ministry unless you go to them first.

 

MINISTRY GROWTH TAKEAWAYS

Low-Growth Belief: “Our audience should find us!”

 

High-Growth Belief: “We should go find our audience!”

 

Growth Term 2: Marketing

Marking is the art and science of knowing how to take your God given message to the specific marketplace where your audience is hanging out. Do you need to take go in the form of a digital advertisement, through a blog on Google, a radio station, TV, or on foot? Good marketing gets you and your congregation to the place where the people God has called you to are waiting.

 

Growth Term 1: Market Research.

Market research is looking out to the various marketplaces your target audience might be hanging out at. This could be at a local mall, a school, or on an online platform like amazon or Facebook. Market Research helps you to identify where your target audience is hanging out, so you don’t waste all of your ministry finances looking for them everywhere. More money going to the RIGHT place, means more growth.

 

Further Study: Deepen your understanding of Jesus’ approach to ministry and re-evaluate the methods of modern ministry to align more closely with the teachings and practices of Jesus.

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About Brett

Brett’s writing has been featured by outlets like Outreach Magazine, Church Tech Today, and the Unstuck Church Group. Brett’s courses on church marketing have over 10,000 students in 143 countries. Brett is also the author of The Digital Ministry: Reaching the ends of the earth without leaving home and Ministry Marketing: The #1 Guide For Christian Ministries. Brett is the marketing director at Clickmill.co and has spoken for many churches, training leaders in subjects like church growth, church marketing, and ministry strategy.

Brett has consulted with ministry leaders internationally, helping them create custom marketing strategies that help ministry leaders get the growth they want.

After four years of Christian college, Brett worked at Christian discipleship schools, Christian camps, and was a Youth Ministry Directory at The Salvation Army. He later spent six years in sales and marketing before working for Clickmill.co.

 

Through Clickmill, Brett helps ministry leaders implement effective digital marketing strategies so they can reach more people, more effectively. Brett and his wife Siomara live in Honolulu, HI.

 

brett henderson

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