By Scott Nelson, Lead Pastor
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how the mission of our church is based on the mission of Jesus: “We exist through the power of the Holy Spirit to transform religious and irreligious people into Fully Devoted Followers of Christ.” As our church goes through the Gospel of Mark, we are seeing the power of this mission and the importance for our church to continue His mission. But of course, we need to ask the question: What is a Fully Devoted Follower of Christ? How is this defined?
On one hand, this is impossible to simplify. Devotion is about loyalty, love, honor, obedience, and allegiance. Truly loving Jesus includes our minds, actions, attitudes, decisions, and habits. You never really “got it” because you always want more, yet you never really “lose it” as long as you stay close to Christ. This is not about perfection, measuring up, or being better than others; it is just a walk with our Savior King.
On the other hand, it is vitally important to define devotion; otherwise we will follow our own definitions rather than following Jesus. We can take the teachings of Jesus and put them into three categories: Devotion (loving God), Fellowship (loving God’s family), and Mission (loving the lost, needy, and hurting). When Jesus called His disciples (Matt 4:18-22), He called them to follow Him (Discipleship), together (Fellowship), and He would make them fishers of men and women (Mission). The last directive of Jesus, called the Great Commission, is where Jesus told His followers to go and make disciples of all the nations (Mission), baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Fellowship because this unites Christians), and teach them to obey everything Jesus taught (Discipleship).
This is the Rooted Life–a life alight with the love of God (who is Love). For most people, one of these Roots will come easily, one will be a little harder, and the third will be tough. Yet each one is important in every person’s life; a stool needs at least three legs to be balanced. Trees need deep roots to weather the storms; when one of our Roots is not deep, we fall over in the direction of our weakest Root.
These Roots each have habits associated with them. The habits are necessary to developing character and deepening love. The seven habits of our church are first steps; there are other habits and deeper steps in addition to these seven. Yet we see these seven as biblical, historical, and critical to the formation of God’s love in the human heart.
- God’s word (daily Bible reading and prayer)
- Relationships (being in a Life Group)
- Offering (financial support)
- Worship (weekly gathering with believers)
- Impact (serving outside of the church)
- New life (evangelism, telling others about Jesus)
- Gifts (serving inside of the church)
Our hope is that every person in our church will live out these seven habits, which strengthen the Roots of Discipleship, Fellowship, and Mission—which define what a Fully Devoted Follower looks like (a life of God’s love). Our church exists to see lives transformed; we don’t exist for programs, events, or entertainment. We don’t exist to make everyone happy. Everything that we do points back to deepening God’s roots of love in every human heart. We ask every person to live the Rooted Life, and we expect our leaders to lead the way into deeper Roots, setting an example with their lives. This is the mission of Jesus, and this is the mission our church seeks to extend with every breath we take.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:17
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7