Purpose & Mission…
The last couple of months, our Father has been loving me by disciplining me—
showing me areas where I fall short as a husband, dad and pastor.
It’s taking Him a while because there’s so much work for Him to do! 🙂
Not easy to know, but necessary to grow!
- Lumberjack: approaches tree with sharp object—chop down & destroy.
- Gardener: approaches tree with sharp object—cut off & build up & grow!
And so I don’t feel condemned, but humbled,
focused more on Christ & His cross, excited to grow!
Two weeks ago I was blessed to meet with nine pastors for three days
to learn how to pastor better.
- I can’t tell you how much I need to improve in serving this local church…
you all have been more patient with me than you realize!
- Caused me to get back to basics—reflect on the mission/purpose of this local church & the ways that I help or hinder us in accomplishing that mission/purpose:
So what is our purpose/mission?
1 Corinthians 1:7-9: Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift
as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
8 He will also keep you firm to the end,
so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Acts 4:13: When they saw the courage of Peter and John
and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men,
they were astonished and they took note
that these men had been with Jesus.
-Elevate Community (amongst Christians here)
Romans 1:8-13: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you,
because your faith is being reported all over the world.
9God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son,
is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times;
and I pray that now at last by God’s will
the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that
I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—
12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
that I planned many times to come to you
(but have been prevented from doing so until now)
in order that I might have a harvest among you,
just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
-Elevate Others (witnessing to & serving non-Christians)
Luke 10:1-3: After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others
and sent them two by two ahead of him
to every town and place where he was about to go.
2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send out workers into his harvest field.
I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
8-9: “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you.
9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them,
‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Now, regarding Elevate, as I said,
I am more explicitly aware of many ways that I fall short as the pastor here.
I’m not fishing for compliments…and I’m not discouraged, but excited & hopeful.
But I am fishing for prayer so I can hinder less & help more for Elevate:
-Regarding Elevating God:
To be a local church where the LORD is honored & revered & glorified.
Exodus 20:24: “Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.
John: “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit.”
That is what I want most of all—for the LORD’s name to be honored here.
God’s name is not necessarily honored at all local churches—
His name can be DIS-honored by
- false/wrong teaching
- false/wrong actions: casual sinning, complacent sitting,
careless seeking, convenient sacrificing.
But that we would seek Him to transform us to honor Him first
in this local church through our teaching, beliefs and actions…
-Regarding Elevating Community:
To be a local church where we deeply know & sacrificially serve each other.
D.L. Moody was an evangelist in the mid to late 1800s.
He & others started a Sunday school for kids in Chicago in the 1870s, often from the most dangerous and poverty-stricken neighborhoods—2,500 children, many orphans!
One 8 year old boy was seen walking alone over 3 miles each way
every Sunday to go to church,
passing by other local churches & other things to do along the way.
When asked why he did this, he replied, “They love a fella over there.”
Wow. May we seek the LORD to transform us
to sacrificially love & serve each other like this…
-Regarding Elevating Others,
To be a local church where we seek non-Christians
& “show & tell” Christ to them.
Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Luke: “Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God & healed the sick.”
I need to do a better job of encouraging & equipping us
to reach out to our geographical neighbors and co-workers/classmates—
those in our spheres of influence—with the Gospel:
- You may be the only Bible they’ve ever read, the only Christian they know.
- Imagine the importance of a town with only one doctor;
how much more vital if you are the only Christian in a person’s life?
We have a mission; we’re free in Christ,
but not to do whatever we want but what He wants.
A pastor told me about his neighbors of 29 years…
the dad is a parapalegic & a non-Christian.
The pastor’s son took the neighbor’s garbage out for 12 years,
& the pastor & his wife had many conversations with, meals cooked for,
invitations to pray for, go to church with, & study the Bible with the neighbors.
When the pastor & his family moved across town,
the neighbor family bought a lot right next to the pastor’s new house!
This is not creepy but beautiful:
the pastor’s family made such an impact for Christ,
the other family couldn’t imagine not having them in their daily lives. Wow.
My dear friends, there are over 60,000 people in this area,
& nearly 50,000 don’t go to church anywhere. WOW!
The harvest truly is plenty, the workers truly are few.
We must not be like the levite and the priest
and pass by those who are separated from Christ and in bondage to sin;
we must learn to gently, respectfully, sacrificially and boldly
go to them like the Samaritan,
sacrificially meeting earthly needs
and introducing them to the Lord Jesus
Who alone can meet their eternal need of
- reconciliation to the Father,
- new birth,
Our Jerusalem is the cubicle, classroom & cul-de-sac—arms reach!
Acts 17:26-27: From one man he made all the nations,
that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and he marked out their appointed times in history
and the boundaries of their lands.
27God did this so that they would seek him
and perhaps reach out for him and find him,
though he is not far from any one of us.
You live & work & study
where you do today by the plan of our heavenly Father!
You have specific non-Christians in your sphere of influence
that other Christians don’t–
may the LORD bless us to seek Him so that He will transform us
to go out into the harvest field and fish for men and women loved by God…
Please know this:
- With all I have to work on, I’m not discouraged but encouraged.
- There will be challenges that I will give to all of us in the future;
- Those who are already all-in here
are needed to continue to not grow weary in doing good…
- Those who are not all-in here
are needed to lean into the mission & fill a gap in the line…
But this post is not primarily about me giving you something to do
but me humbling myself and showing my commitment
to work on my challenges, to be a better shepherd here.
1 Timothy 4:12—16: Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,
but set an example for the believers
in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture,
to preaching and to teaching.
14 Do not neglect your gift,
which was given you through prophecy
when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters;
give yourself wholly to them,
so that everyone may see your progress.
16 Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Persevere in them,
because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
I want my progress/growth as a pastor to be obvious
so that our Father gets the credit:
“If He can transform a clay pot like m.j., He can transform me too!”