Each week, Multiply Church posts a recap of the message from The Gathering on Sunday mornings; which is posted to the Multiply website. I had the opportunity to deliver the message this past week and am reposting the recap here.
Are you living your life on mission? What are the other options? To live your life off mission? Sure, there are those floating through without much thought as to purpose and intent. The majority, however, are probably living on one mission or another.
So what is yours?
At Multiply Church, one of our vision statements is equipping believers to live life on mission.
But what does that mean? No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative! JK!! We’re learning what it means as we take big steps of faith.
Also, at Multiply Church, we define a disciple of Jesus as anyone who receives Jesus as Savior, worships Jesus as King, and obeys Jesus as Lord. As the church in America, we do okay with receiving and worshipping. But we have a big problem with obedience.
A few weeks ago, Pastor Casey did a fantastic job of connecting a life on mission with a life of obedience. He continued to put handles on a large theological concept when we know, grow, and go!
The words of Jesus are really important. Afterall, we have to know the words of Jesus before we can grow and go in the ways of Jesus. Some words of Jesus that Matthew recorded gives me great pause as a follower of Jesus. In a teaching to his apostles and a larger crowd that had gathered, he asks, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but don’t do what I say?”
Ouch. Jesus…come on, bro! I thought we were boys!
But isn’t this what we do in the church all the time?? Attendance and participation in “church” certainly do not guarantee we are doing what Jesus told his followers (i.e. Christians) to do. Actually we as the church have created a framework and language we use to keep ourselves from doing what Jesus says.
Let me introduce you to three people:Person 1 is all about “sharing his faith.” He uses the word “gospel” a lot. He also quotes Bible verses like “Jesus came to seek and save the lost” and “How will they know if we don’t tell them?” We have a big word that carries a lot of baggage to describe the efforts of Person 1: Evangelism. Person 1 thinks that evangelism should be priority #1 for the church!
Person 2 is all about “being the hands and feet of Christ.” She quotes Bible verses like “faith without works is dead.” The word we use to describe all the works of Person 2 is missions. She thinks that missions or outreach should be priority #1 for the church!
Finally, Person 3 is all about reading and studying the Bible. He goes around telling people how “God’s word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path” and telling stories about how God met him through one particular Bible study this one time. What’s the word we use for the category in which Person 3 fits?? That’s right…discipleship! Therefore, he says Bible studies and small group curriculum should be priority #1 for the church, especially the prepackaged Bible study in which God met him!
So now we have three lanes into which people must choose to move. This model inevitably creates competition and confusion in the church. “Well, real Christians do ___________.” So which lane do we choose??
How about the one you’re called to?? And there’s the language to support the framework! Calling.
“I’m just not called to missions.”
“I’m just not called to share my faith.”
So instead, I stay in my lane to which I’ve conveniently been called.
Here’s the thing…you’re right! You are not called. You are commanded!
Yep, Jesus doesn’t call his followers to these individual baseline efforts. Instead, he commands us to do them. Sure, there are specific callings that must be discerned through means such as prayer, fasting, assessment, and community, but we need to look at what Jesus commands all those who take his name, make an adjective of it, and apply it to themselves.
We need to merge these lanes. We must marry these identities we’ve created in the local church. In fact, there is only one lane: discipleship. Discipleship is not a lane. It is the lane. As one believer pours the ways of Jesus into another, the output is a life on mission. There will be behavioral patterns that look like missions to some. There will be patterns that look like evangelism. There will be patterns that look like what the traditional local church model calls discipleship.
As I consider how many days I have left on this earth, there are no guarantees, but I can look at the average age of a male in our society and get a general idea. Whatever that number ends up being – 1 or 14,965 – I want my days to be about encouraging people (and being encouraged by others) to do what Jesus says to do. In my experience, it is in obedience to Jesus’ commands where the greatest transformation occurs for the human heart. Lives are changed and people come to life as they know, grow, and go…not in one single lane, but in full obedience.
Who do you have in your life leading you to obey Jesus as Lord?