IT IS GOING TO GET MESSY!
Lostness is everywhere. As we look across the landscape and see how many people need the salvation of Jesus, it can seem very daunting.
Admit it. It is fear. Fear of awkward conversations. Fear of the unknown. Fear of questions. But fear of man sits at the center.
We do not want to risk. We are afraid. We do not believe this statement, “all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me…or behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age," the two bookends on each side of "go and make disciples" (Matt. 28:18, 20).
"I will stand over here on my island of pure, clean, wholesome living and WAIT...WAIT for them to see how great my island (church) is. And then they will want the same thing and clean themselves up and come over to my island."
If not careful, that is the unwritten rule inside the church. The "attractional model" of the church has slowly been dying. Possibly been dead for 95% of churches who used to operate in that model--except for the exception of the larger mega-box churches who are able to provide the greatest amenities and attractions.
So what keep us "waiting" for them to "come to our church," instead of us pursuing relationships with gospel intentionality?
It is fear.
"Go and make disciples..." Do not...Do not...Do not...sit in your clean ivory tower, waiting and watching as the world passes by without an all sufficient Savior.
So, what do we do instead of getting involved with people’s lives?
- We go to meetings on discipleship. We go to classes on discipleship. We study the word about discipleship. We discuss our need for discipleship. And all that keeps us busy enough up at the building to keep us from having to engage with lost people.
- We substitute “busyness in the building” in place of OBEDIENCE. When we have all these classes, studies, meetings, and trainings DETACHED FROM MISSION & RELATIONSHIPS—we do it as a way to justify how we spend our time and how we're not making disciples. It is much, much easier to sit and listen to teaching than listen to people’s deep, complex problems and horrible decision-making.
- We expect the church to set up events that might lure in the lost—where they might accidentally rub up against salvation and get it on them. Many people believe the paid staff guys job is to create and organize events or provide the newest programs so people can bring their acquaintances to a building/event where somebody else might share the gospel with them. This must change in the coming decades.
- We focus on people “making a decision” or “making converts” instead of making disciples. And when people do walk an aisle—pray a prayer—join a church—What happens next? That person should be bombarded with people trying to walk them to deeper growth.
cost & danger
"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny self,
take up his cross daily, and follow Me"
FINDING JESUS IN THE MESS
As we engage in gospel word and deed for the good of our city, Christ is in the midst with us. We will see Jesus re-creating what Satan has tried to destroy. We will see Jesus redeeming people and restoring relationships. We will see Jesus reconciling people to His Father. And we will see Jesus blowing our mind on what living is--"seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."
We will be together in the mess. But Jesus will be there with us in the mess--and in that experience--He will become more captivating to us and He will receive glory!
WE NEED THE GOSPEL FOR THE CITY...AND WE NEED THE GOSPEL OURSELVES IN THE CITY
The task seems daunting. There's no script, no secret strategy, and no perfect program. We must trust the Holy Spirit, as we clarify and articulate the gospel, and enjoy God in the process.
So when we engage in missional living, we have to deepen our trust in the gospel. The city's complex lostness focuses our own need for the gospel. So we not only offer the gospel to the city, but we need the gospel ourselves--the only thing that saves as well as the only thing that keeps us.
So when we engage in disciple-making and missions--we have to trust God more. We have to look to the gospel with our own hearts as we come up against things we know we're inadequate for.
God uses the tension of mission to get us to see the glory of the Tri-une God as all-sufficient.