We as a church are preparing to go mission. What do I mean by this? And how do we prepare?
The Great Commission is Jesus’ final words of command to commission the disciples to go make disciples who make disciples of all nations. This means you, as a Christian, are commanded and commissioned to go on mission evangelizing and teaching people to obey everything Jesus taught (Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8).
To do this well we are called to prepare. But how?
Think of this analogy –
We are at war! (Spiritually, not a physical war, and so the following is a way to depict what small groups can be doing to try to lead people to Christ. The military language is simply a way to organize and prepare for what we are trying to accomish).
Our church exists in enemy occupied territory. We have established a beachhead called Grace Church Seattle, which is our HQ. This is the place where we hear from the commanding officers about our mission, about the patrols we are to go on. But we have had a strategy that is self-defeating. The strategy of our past has been individualism. We have been fighting the enemy on our own and find ourselves being defeated. There are some victories and there are some soldiers grouping together in the field, but the battle plan is unclear and many feel ill-equipped to fight together as a unit to defeat the enemy and rescue people out of this dominion of darkness.
The enemy is strong and rules over this world by his tactics of blinding the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot cannot understand the message of the Gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). So long as we try to help them to see by relying on our own strength they will remain blind. In this battle our struggle is not against people, but against the spiritual powers and principalities of this dark age (Ephesians 6:12). Since we are being defeated as individuals, we need to start preparing with a different strategy, in groups made up of a Band of Brothers, well trained, side-by-side, and ready to sacrifice themselves for one another. Leading these Platoons are 1st and 2nd Lieutenants who are men of character, discipled warriors who are preparing to lead Platoons into battle. These Platoon leaders are training up Sergeants to help keep up the moral and press the groups forward on mission.
Because we are already in a war, we haven’t had time to go to Boot Camp. So we have some Boot Camp style training that takes place at HQ on Sunday mornings at 9:00am. If you, as a soldier, feel defeated and outmanned by the enemy, then come to Boot Camp and learn tactics on a weekly basis that you can use in the battlefield almost immediately when you leave HQ. We have weekly briefings about the next week’s mission at 10:30am. During this time we also talk about some of the victories in the battlefield and tactics to defeat the enemy. When we leave HQ our new strategy is to send out our patrols into neighborhoods to look for the broken hearted who need to be rescued and soldiers who have been defeated and need to be strengthened and reassured so they desire to come back to HQ. To do this well, our Platoons need to work together as a team to bring these wounded soldiers and rescued converts into your Platoon. Once they have been reassured and strengthened we can get them back to HQ to get the spiritual medical attention they need from our MASH unit. Once they are ready we can get them into Boot Camp training to prepare to go out into the field with your platoon to rescue more people from the enemy.
As the Major of this operation, I am trying to follow the Commander in Chief’s commissioning and raise up Captains to oversee companies and Platoon leaders to soldiers into the field on weekly patrols. But I’m not sure everyone believes the orders given by the Commander in Chief. Our Captains, 1st and 2nd Lieutenants, and Sergeants understand the commission. We talk about it every week and we prepare to lead our Platoons on their weekly patrols through communication together with the Commander in Chief. I invite you to join us in this communication. Perhaps not during our officer’s meeting, but during other times when the officers will make themselves available to communicate to the Commander in Chief with you. The coolest thing about this Army is any soldier at any time has direct access to this Commander. But for it to be the most effective, it works best if we earnestly do this together.
There are three times we can earnestly seek direction from the Commander in Chief together: (1) at 7:00am on Sundays HQ right by the podium where the Major speaks; (2) at 10:05am on Sundays in at HQ as we prepare for the service at 10:30am; and (3) in your Platoon huddles in neighborhoods when you meet and talk about the weekly patrol.
Fellow Christ-followers – we are a Band of Brothers. May we seek to work together and uplift one another as we prepare for weekly battles knowing the war has already been won by the Commander in Chief and that we were never meant to fight this war alone (Hebrews 10:24-26).
Friends – if the above didn’t make sense, this is a call to not stop meeting together as some are in the habit of doing (Hebrews 10:25) and to join a Home Community to be strengthened, to join a School of Theology class to be strengthened, and to pray with use at one of three times: (1) 7:00am Sundays; (2) 10:05am Sundays; or (3) in your HC group.