Starting a few months ago, different pastors of our church joined the rotation on this weekly blog, sharing their thoughts on many different topics. It has been great hearing their insights! Recently, I have been writing about the Key Values of our church family. Values are what define a culture, and they greatly shape the “feel” of any group of people. So far, I have talked about our Vision (transforming lives into Fully Devoted Followers of Christ), our Roots (Discipleship, Fellowship, and Mission), and the Key Value of Character. This week, I want to write about the value of Living His Mission.
It is easy to forget the purpose of the Church. We exist to transform lives. Jesus came to call creation back to the Creator, out of rebellion and back home to the Father. There are so many good things that a church can do, but all these good things come second to the FIRST purpose. If we lose that purpose, we have lost the very reason God made the Church. To put it another way, we don’t need to make up the mission; we are made for God’s mission. The Church doesn’t have a mission; God’s mission has the Church. We are called to live out the mission with Him.
Our Key Value says that we will do anything other than sin to reach people. And we mean ANYTHING. It could be strange sermon titles (Jesus Loves Zombies), a mechanical bull, or games on Sunday mornings (including beach balls). If you want to reach people who don’t go to church, you have to do things that no other church is doing. We never compromise on God’s word, but we have no problem breaking the “religion rules.” This has gotten some people upset, but it has drawn others into a place that proclaims proudly, “This ain’t your mama’s church!” As we have matured as a church, we have not lost the passion to reach lost people. We will still do anything other than sin. It’s a lot of fun!
The Holy Spirit is working in every human heart, drawing them back to the Father’s loving arms. This is good news! We don’t have to do the work alone. In fact, we join the work that is already being done. I once thought that I was “bringing Jesus” to those who don’t believe. I now understand that Jesus is already there, and I am invited to join the conversation. Evangelism begins with listening, caring, and serving others. It moves into helping people understand the truth about God and His love, lovingly nudging them to take a step closer to Christ. Some people outside the church are very close to God–because of the work the Holy Spirit has done in their lives. They need to take the step into a faith community, and that may be a hard step for them, so that their love for the Lord and the lost will spur others on.
Does the church exist to meet people’s needs? No…and yes. We exist to live out the mission of God, and we invite every person onto that mission together. We don’t make people into the object of our mission (that’s kind of demeaning); we invite them onto the mission together. Jesus called people to follow Him as He lived out the mission together with them. It is when we are following Jesus together, living out His mission, that all of our deepest needs are met. Our church is committed to living out God’s mission. This is transforming lives–including our own!