Ready To Grow?You might have read on the "New Here?" page that we strive to be a church completely focused on Jesus. We're his followers and his church; it only makes sense for us to focus on him. In the bible Jesus' followers are called disciples. So, that's how we identify ourselves--disciples of Jesus. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Before Jesus left the earth he gave his followers these instructions, "go into all the world and make disciples" (Matthew 28:19-20). From those instructions we understand that Jesus' disciples are to make disciples. That's our vision and the foundation of everything we do around here. We exist to be and make disciples of Jesus.
You may have noticed out tag line at the top of this page--encounter, pursue, extend...Jesus. It's more than a slogan for us; it's our way of life and the basis of everything we do as a church. We believe that the process outlined in this statement is the way in which people become and grow as followers of Jesus. In other words, this process is the way we seek to fulfill the call to be and make disciples.
Are you ready to grow?
Start living out this process, and you might be surprised by the results.
What does it mean to Encounter Jesus? For us, an Encounter with Jesus means that we take time to acknowledge him for who he is and what he has done.
Who is Jesus? We believe that he is the Son of God and the Savior of the world (Matthew 16:13-17).
What has he done? Well, he's done lots. But primarily, he died on a cross to take away our sin and rose to give hope to those who put their faith in him.
A genuine acceptance of who Jesus is and what he has done is the basis of our salvation (if this is new to you, see our "accepting Jesus" page for more info). In fact, the early church responded to an Encounter with Jesus, by being baptized for this very reason (see Acts 2:36-41).
Each of us, no matter how long we might have been following Jesus, needs to make time to Encounter Jesus on a daily basis. We might acknowledge who he is and what he's done as we read God's word, as we worship, as we reflect on the world around us, or as we meditate on the truths we've come to understand about him. But, a true Encounter with Jesus will always lead us to see him for who he truly is and what he has done.
Peter may be our best and most complete example of the way in which someone grows in discipleship. Luke 5:1-11 describes one of his first Encounters with Jesus. Go ahead, check it out. Notice that Peter desires to follow Jesus, because he sees clearly that Jesus is someone special. He may not fully grasp the full truth of who Jesus is and what he is going to do, but he knows that Jesus is worth following. So when Jesus issues the call to follow, Peter is compelled to take the next step.
Hopefully, we have a similar experience on a regular basis.
Encountering at Safeharbor
We believe that an Encounter with Jesus can be intensified as we Encounter him together. So, as a church, we make time to Encounter Jesus together on Sunday mornings. Our goal on Sunday mornings is to provide an opportunity for everyone, from the person who is unsure about Jesus to the disciple who's been following him for decades, to see Jesus for who he is and what he has done.
So, if you're new to Safeharbor, Sunday mornings are the best place to start.
When we see Jesus for who he is and what he has done, we are compelled to take the next step. So we move from and Encounter with Jesus to a desire to Pursue him.
Of course we can't physically follow Jesus from place to place as his original disciples did. So how do we Pursue Jesus? For us, Pursuing Jesus means that we desire to know and live out his will for our lives instead of our own. You've probably wanted to know God's will for you life at some point in the past. Well, that's what Pursuing Jesus is all about. Jesus' will is synonymous with God's will. Jesus desired to do the will of his Father in heaven (Luke 22:42 is a good example). His followers desire to do the same.
How do we discover God's will for our life? The answer eludes many of us. But take heart; there is an answer. The most clear expression of God's will can be found in the Bible (a.k.a. God's Word). The Bible is the revelation of what God want's us to know (2Timothy 3:16). As we study God's Word and commit to living it out, we begin to understand what Pursuing Jesus is all about. The Holy Spirit is another important help to discovering and living out God's will for our lives (1Corinthians 2:11-12). The Holy Spirit is given to those who belong to Jesus (Romans 8:9-14). A few other things that come into play as we seek to discover God's will for our life are prayer, the example and wisdom of other mature disciples, experience/circumstances.
As Peter followed Jesus, slowly but surely, he grew in his understanding of what it meant to Pursue Jesus. Matthew 16:13-25 gives us a good picture of the way Peter had to grow in his pursuit of Jesus. In the first few verses (13-19) we see that Peter had a true Encounter with Jesus (he saw him for who he is). In vs 20-35, we see that Peter had difficulty accepting the will of God. Go ahead, check it out.
For Peter, accepting the will of God, determined whether or not he would follow Jesus. Luckily, he mad the right choice. This is a choice that each of us makes daily (see Luke 9:23). But understanding the will of God, takes a consistent dedication to the things described above.
Pursuing at Safeharbor
We believe that Pursuing Jesus (seeking his will and living it out), is accelerated in small group bible studies, where people get together to read God's Word, and, being led by the Holy Spirit, encourage one another to understand and live out what they discover there. As we get together for these regularly scheduled opportunities, the potential for growth is surprising. The best opportunities to Pursue Jesus together at Safeharbor, are our small groups.
Safeharbor Small Groups are a great place to connect with others on a deeper level, to get and give encouragement, and to be challenged in your desire to follow Jesus. Click here for more info about small groups.
If you're interested in small groups or other opportunities to Pursue Jesus, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Somewhere along the way, as we Pursue Jesus, we come to the realization that it is his will for us to share him with others. So, as we Pursue Jesus, eventually we begin got Extend him to others.
Extending Jesus to others comes as a natural result of our growth in discipleship. Extending Jesus is about sharing him with others. The more we see Jesus for who he is and what he has done (Encounter) the more we want to follow him (Pursue). The more we follow him, the more grateful we become of what he has done in our lives; so that, naturally, we want to share him with others.
How do we Extend Jesus? As we serve others as Jesus did, show grace to them as Jesus did, give up ourselves for others as Jesus did, or tell them the truth about who Jesus is and what he has done.
As we extend Jesus to others, they can encounter him through us. While that might sound kind of mystical, it's also biblical (see Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:22; Colossians 1:27; Romans 8:11). In fact, Extending Jesus is the way we fulfill Jesus command to make disciples (see Matthew 28:19-20 at the top of this page). As we Extend Jesus to others, they have an opportunity to Encounter him (see him for who he is and what he has done) and become his disciples too. If you're a follower of Jesus, someone Extended him to you. Let's not deprive others of that same opportunity.
Before Jesus left the earth, he left Peter with specific instructions. Take a look at John 21:1-19. In this passage Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep. Luckily for us, Peter obeyed. Feeding Jesus' sheep, meant teaching and leading Jesus' followers. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, he did so in a powerful way. If Peter (and the other disciples) had failed in this responsibility, you wouldn't be reading this today.
As you extend Jesus to others on a daily basis, you might be surprised as the excitement and growth that you experience as a result.
Extending at Safeharbor
When followers of Jesus begin to Extend him together, the results are powerful (see Ephesians 4:1-16). We need to Extend Jesus to devoted followers of Jesus as well as those who have yet to Encounter him. You can help us Extend Jesus together by getting involved in the various outreach opportunities at Safeharbor and by serving as part of a ministry team. When you're ready for this step, we have a few classes to help you get started on the right foot. Just send us an e-mail at email@example.com and we'll let you know when the next class begins.
So that's it. We try to keep everything we do at Safeharbor focused on one of those steps. We hope that you'll join us as we do our best to be and make disciples of Jesus--nothing more, nothing less.