Monthly Archives: November 2010

Being a Church on Mission

Being a Church on Mission

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Mark 16:15 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

What does it mean to be a Church on Mission – Being a church on mission means that we are intentional and deliberate about reaching others for Christ. It means we are missionaries without ever leaving our zip code. It means we do missions right where God has planted us—in our community, on the job, with family, at school or wherever you find people who are not churched or may be unsaved and have a need for a personal encounter with Christ.

Notice two words in this definition:

1. We are intentional – We purpose in our heart to reach our community for Christ. This does not happen by accident, it must be a lifestyle where we desire to see those around have a personal encounter with a living God.

2. We are deliberate – We watch for opportunities to share our faith with others and to be Christ to others by demonstrating Christ’s love for all. Someone has said that we should preach all of the time and some times we use words.

Notice that word “program” is not used in the definition. This is not about establishing another program in the church but rather it is about a lifestyle of passionately displaying the life of Christ so that others can experience His love and mercy. We should also note here that we do not save anyone but it is a work of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to watch for where God is working and work for Him.

Four core values of being on mission

  • Every believer a missionary: In the New Testament we do not see a Biblical distinction between evangelism and missions. In fact, the word “mission” or “missions” is never used. We are called to share the message of hope to all we encounter that are open to hear the message.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 – I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

  • We need to build relationships because in building relationships with others people will be more open to hear the message of Christ’s love. So spend some time getting to know others so that trust will grow. Think about how you came to know Christ. Was it not from a personal encounter with someone who loved you enough to share Christ with you? The scripture tells us to “go into all of the world.” It has been said that “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

 

  • We need to love exceptionally because our actions speak louder than our words. Maybe you have become aware of some hardship or simply a project your neighbor or co-worker is facing. Is there some way that you and your family may help in these things? Jesus knew our actions would speak as loud as our message, so he taught us to “let our light shine before other men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

 

  • We need to proclaim courageously as this kind of evangelism is different than proclamation evangelism. You may not share the gospel the first time you meet, but be sensitive to the Spirit’s work and when He opens the door of opportunity, don’t wait too long before you lead the conversation to spiritual things and to the good news about Jesus Christ.

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Principles and Core Values that Dictates How I Do Ministry

Relevant preaching based in Biblical truth – In our current society situational ethics and a decreased regard for moral absolutes seem to be the norm, but in reality people truly are searching for truth. They are searching for relevant, authentic people who will lovingly care for them and motivate them toward the unchanging truth of the gospel. Thus, people need the unchanging truth of the gospel presented in a way that meets them where they are and in a language they can understand. To effectively present the gospel, all means available to the church must be used. These would include drama, dance, the arts, multimedia and sound biblical messages. This is critical as the inerrancy of Scriptures becomes the authority that detects the way we live and act within community. (Colossians 1:28, Acts 17…)

Worship – Worship is a lifestyle and not something that is just “done” on Sunday morning. The reality is that too often there is a disconnect between the person’s persona on Sunday and the rest of the week. God has called us to a lifestyle of worship so that all we do glorifies God and honors his name. When the church does gather for the “worship service” the entire service should be spiritually alive and vibrant but biblically based in order to reach those who are attending and point them to God almighty. (John 4:24, Romans 12:1)

Outreach & Mission – The church should be “on mission” rather than simply “doing missions.” The difference is in the mindset of the church. A church on mission recognizes that every individual is a missionary to their zip code. Therefore, they must reach their community, those on the job, students in their school and those with whom they connect. When the church does missions, it sends people on short-term trips, to foreign fields and it sends money to mission’s organizations but they fail to engage the culture around them with spiritual truth. This does not negate the sending of money or people to the mission field there is simply a greater recognition that we are all missionaries who are on mission. With that in mind, we must seek to develop the necessary strategies to reach our communities for Christ. As Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Alpharetta, GA has said “If we are going to reach people no one else is reaching we need to do things that no one else is doing.” These strategies may change from one location to the next but the underlying value is that we have a heart for people who do not know Christ and a compassion and passion to see them transformed by Christ. (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20)

Discipleship & Spiritual Growth – Within the church, we must be in the business of “equipping the saints” for the work of ministry. It is impossible for a single pastor to adequately minister to every one in the body effectively. Therefore, the church must “equip the saints” so that the body is ministering to each other. One of the successes of the early NT church was in its ability to minister to one another. Therefore, it is critical that the body of Christ have mechanisms in place to connect people to Christ, to one another, to the ministry, and to mission. This is best accomplished through small groups or home groups. Through home groups people are connected in authentic relationships and they can find their place within the context of the local church. Here they receive assistance in their journey toward becoming passionate and fully devoted followers of Christ. And, out the home group they serve together to reach their community for Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-14, Acts 2:41-47)

Simplicity in Ministry – One problem that faces many churches today is busyness and calendars that are jammed with activity. It is my belief that simplicity of ministry is critical. The church must establish its vision and then anything that fits outside that vision must be eliminated. This means sometimes the good must be eliminated so that the best can be raised up. The problem is that too often the church has “sacred cows” that are not easily sacrificed for the overall health of the body. Our process of connecting people to the church must be simple enough that everyone in the body understands and knows what is required of them and how they can become fully connected to Christ, to others, to their specific ministry and to mission.

Multi-generational – While the target group in a church might vary it is critical that we bridge the gaps between the generations. The best way to accomplish this is to have the various generational groups serve one another in ways that spur one another to growth

Youth and children – We must be more effective in reaching this and future generations for Christ by providing ministry that is relational, authentic and relative to where our youth and children are in the culture. If the statistics are correct and there is no reason to believe they are not, only 4% of this generation of youth has a commitment to Christ. This percentage has declined over the last decade and if it continues in this downward trend then we could face the elimination of the church as we know in just a couple of decades. Therefore, the church must create environments that are conducive to seeing youth and children developing vital relationships. This also means that a significant amount of the budget must be used to develop this ministry.

Cross-cultural Ministry – As our nation has become more ethnically diverse, we as the church have tended to remain segregated but the church must look for ways to become more ethnically diverse. This can not be forced nor can it be simply a program or goal to attain but must be a part of the DNA of the church because they have a passion to reach all men for Christ regardless of race, culture or life experiences.

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Core Values that Drive My Life

On November 7th we officially arrived in Delaware and began our ministry at Peninsula Community Church. This has been an adventure. It has been one which has seen God’s hand at work and His grace in action in so many ways. We are so excited to be here and to serve as the senior pastor of PCC. It is my belief that if we are faithful to God’s calling and obedient to His will that we will see His glory revealed in and through PCC.

In this blog today and over the next couple of weeks I want to share with you my philosophy of ministry. I will begin with what I consider the core values of my life. The goal of this is for you to get to know me better as we serve God and reach the communities of the DELMAR peninsula together.

Core Values that Drive My Life

Centrality and authority of the Word of God – The Scriptures are the unchanging authority that guides and directs all I do. My desire is to rightly divide the Word of truth, apply that truth to my life and then allow it to become alive in my heart by living out that truth in all that I do as a passionate follower of Christ.

Prayer – All that is done in my life and ministry must be birthed and launched in prayer. Without prayer I am powerless to live a life devoted to Christ and I will also be out of fellowship with the living God.

Worship – Living a lifestyle of worship is as just as important to me as the actual act of worship. My goal is to be the same person during the week that I am on Sundays or in a church setting. As John 4:24 states my desire is to worship God “in spirit and in truth.”

Team Work/Partnership – The work of the ministry must be a team effort. Therefore, I am called to be an equipper of the saints so that the work of the ministry can be accomplished. The result will be that the body will become a place of unity. In unity, we become a dwelling place for the presence of God. I live by the motto that says build great people and you will build a great ministry. It is always people first.

Right Priorities – In all of life we must set proper priorities so that we are not entrapped by the cares of life. For me, it is God first, followed by family and then ministry. My fear is that I will be guilty of winning others but lose my family in the process.

Man on Mission – I prefer to be “on mission” rather than just doing missions or ministry. I recognize that I am called to reach those in my community and within my sphere of influence. I am called to be God’s ambassador and therefore will faithfully represent Him by developing loving relationships and by reaching out to others who are unchurched/unsaved and need the hope of Christ.

Transformation of Character – I recognize that I am on a journey of growth and transformation. The goal is to be like Christ. I can never stop growing or else I will die spiritually. I also realize that I have not arrived at full maturity yet but am growing and being renewed day by day.

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