I feel lost. I feel directionless. And this coming out of 3 months worth of work laying out the direction, vision and future for my church. Such a 2020 feeling. Is this what God intended? Did He leave us any direction that would transcend culture? How? How could God possibly give us direction for our current culture thousands of years ago? Well He did and left us the Holy Spirit to apply it to our surroundings.
There are a few things God clearly laid out: baptism, church leadership, and restoration to name a few. Then there are other aspects Christ commanded and left the application up to us. The mission of the church has not changed for thousands of years. However, many of our methods have changed as we try to accomplish that mission in our current context. Are you a Christian? Then you are part of the church at large and subsequently part of the mission God left for the church. The last people on earth that should ever feel directionless are Christians! Why? Christ left us with a transcendent mission!
Go on this journey with me; here is what He said to His disciples as He was departing earth-
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
That is huge. How can we go into the world and make disciples? That is too big for any one person. YOU ARE RIGHT. God has left this mission for the church, of which you are a part of. It is not for you to solely accomplish. It is for you to take part in the church mission. This is often what breeds a directionless feeling. We see something so grandiose before us that we become paralyzed. Instead of doing something, we do nothing.
Let me say it like this, God is so big He can love the whole world. Only He can. God so loved the world because He’s the only one big enough to actually be able to say that, act upon that, and accomplish that. God so loved the world, He sent His Son. What did He ask of us? We become paralyzed when we try to do Christ’s job to love the whole world. We are not God, only He is big enough for that. What did He ask of us? Go love your neighbor. He loves the world as each Christian loves their neighbor. Don’t get lost in loving the world, get lost in loving your neighbor.
Let me suggest four aspects for your next move. Despite what is going on in our world today, you are called to make a move because you are called to love, and you are called to be part of a mission bigger than yourself.
It’s hard, not impossible: We have 1,000 excuses. Stop. Stop making excuses. Loving your neighbor is hard. Pandemics complicate things. Money complicates things. Society complicates things. Guess what? All true for the early church too. It’s hard, not impossible. What excuses are you making as you Pray for One? Is it impossible or an excuse? Acknowledge your next move will be hard and then embrace that reality.
Go fishing: I can’t buy coffee for people like I used to. I have a hard time leaving my neighbors baked goods like I used to. I have a hard time inviting people to church like I used to. But God has still asked us to be fishers of men (that whole go and make disciples thing). What if He sent us a pandemic to help us make disciples? What? Jason, that is why I stop. NOOOO. What if this very real challenge in our society was not intended to take us off mission but help us to get back on mission. How? The church has always been about meeting needs and sharing the hope of Jesus. The enemy wants us to use the pandemic to excuse ourselves from the mission; Jesus wants us to use the pandemic to get on mission.
Meet needs: You see very real needs, go meet them. Love teachers instead of complaining about them. Email your friend a Starbucks gift card letting them know you are praying for them and that you love them. You’re a stressed out parent? Know any other stressed out parents? Check in on them. Start a convo not as a gripe session, but to offer the hope you have in Jesus. Send DoorDash meals to people in need. Ask a church leader if you can send warm gloves to the church from Amazon to give to the homeless. Venmo someone that’s out of work some money simply to help out. Why? Because He first loved us!
“He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.” William Blake: I know my fourth point is a quote and from the 1750’s. But it’s still true today. We have the desire to see people come to Jesus. We have a desire to be a part of the mission of the church. We have a desire to love people. But if we never actually do any of that, we are simply dreaming. You want to make a difference? Then take that whole love thy neighbor thing seriously and go make a difference. What you want to do for all, start by doing for one.
So what’s your next move?
Keep praying for ONE-
Pastor Jason Coache,
Lead Pastor at Wellspring Church