This past weekend, my good friend and member of our teaching team, Paul Austin, shared a great message at GCC on “Re-elevating your mission” in life. I can’t post his notes, but I’d like to pass on several of the key points that made this teaching so impactful and what I took away from it. Below are my elaborations.
First, The Great Commission is for Everyone! Somehow we’ve either been duped into not believing, or simply excusing the reality that, in Mt. 28:18-20, Jesus called all of us into the ministry; and specifically, missional service! Intentionally or not, “church” has taught the “members” that only a select few are called- the clergy, pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. And everyone else? Well they’re relegated to showing up and giving some money, so the select few can “do” the ministry. Honestly, that’s just plain dumb, if not very deceptive! Jesus says, “As you go about your everyday life, make disciples!” And we’re all “Everyday” people.
Second, Sometimes God gives very Specific Direction; But Most of the Time He Simply Expects You to Show Up! My good friend, Jimmie Bratcher, also a member of our teaching team, likes to say that we need to all have the ministry of being who you are, in Christ, and showing up! If we don’t possess some type of prophetic revelation we often feel like we have no clear direction from God regarding our life mission. But isn’t living your life everyday for Christ an incredible mission strategy? In 1st Corinthians, Paul calls every follower of Jesus a “Christ Ambassador.” That means that everyday, in every way, to everyone we encounter, we are representing Christ! So, you ARE a MISSIONARY!
Third, The Church Must Empower Everyone! I shared with my staff today that we are making a philosophical shift in how we think about and facilitate “making disciples.” Regrettably, for most of the church world and just about every ministry and model out there, we place all the emphasis on equipping the select few: the leaders, the potential staff people, the ones who indicate “a call” on their life! What a gross disservice to everyone else and to God, let alone, being a really stupid strategy. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t train leaders, etc.; however, if leaders are truly leaders they’ll reproduce leaders anyway. What I am saying is that I’d much rather have 500 doing “the ministry” everyday in all those 500 unique life settings and situations than 5 “chosen” ones! Further, I’d rather promote having 500 missionaries in our church than one “missions” program! Finally, I’d rather empower everyone to serve Jesus by serving others than endorse a system that focuses only on a few being in the “service” of the Lord!
The reason I’m so passionate about this is because I was trained, and trained others (because I din’t know any better nor was I allowed to think any differently) in a system, that is still very much the modus operandi in our denominations, churches, and other ministries. By spending 99% of our efforts and energy on the 1% we considered “called by God” to be pastors, missionaries, staff people, etc., church leaders grossly disable the church to actually fulfill the Great Commission!
Instead, what would happen if we spent 99% of our efforts on the 99% who won’t be pastors or staff or ??; who live very unique everyday lives and are members of our churches, or who, in the case of a Chi Alpha college student about to graduate, will get a job in some vocational marketplace setting? I’ll tell you what will happen- you’ve already read about it in Acts 11! Everyday people in all those everyday places would be on mission for Jesus, proclaiming his message in heart and deed, and it would, did, and will change the world!
Let’s re-elevate the mission to especially include everyone!