For the past two months we have been considering the call for God’s people to live as participants of God’s mission to make His kingdom known in the world. We’ve talked about what it means to be missionaries in the neighborhood, and heard some stories from people who have lived on mission around the world. This Sunday we will conclude our series by hearing from Scott and Jeri Lewis of Forge America/Kingswell in Middletown, and you won’t want to miss it. Here’s a quick video that gets to the missional heart of the philosophy they’ve used as they’ve worked with others in the Middletown area to make God’s Kingdom known.
The Kingdom Witness Is an US Thing
The “with others” part is important, and something that we have to keep coming back to over, and over, and over again. While there are times when Christian individuals are called to explain the source of our hope in Jesus, or speak a word of the Gospel into the lives of a friend or a family member, on the whole, the call to bear witness to the Kingdom of God in the world is necessarily something that we all do together.
It’s easy to forget about this from time to time, especially in our culture which celebrates the individual above all else. The gravitational pull of our natural thought processes will tend to drag us toward thinking, “Am I being an effective witness?” In fact, that line of thinking has pulled our recent series off course a bit, and as we move forward it is important to constantly work to bring this back the more accurate Kingdom question, “Are we being effective witnesses?”
Love One Another
And how do we become effective witnesses in the world? Jesus said that people would know that we are his disciples because we love one another, and it’s pretty difficult to love one another as an solitary individual. It requires a community of people, of all shapes and shades, who choose to live for the sake of the other. In a world of division and polarization, to become a community of people who can love one another well, and can even disagree with one another well, while going out together to bear witness to the fact that Jesus is Lord will mean to become a community that people look at and wonder about. So the question we are seeking to ask is, “How are we living Life on Mission Together as a church?”
Everyone Has a Part to Play
When we ask the question that way, we begin to ask about our individual participation differently as well. Life on Mission Together, means that there’s no one special way to live as Kingdom ambassadors in the world. It means you serve as you’re able, and where you’re gifted, and we all are better off for that.
At New Hope, Life on Mission Together begins in the New Hope Community Groups, which is why one of the areas of focus is finding ways to bless and serve the neighborhood together. We’ll also be considering how we live on mission together as a congregation as we seek to serve the neighborhood in the coming year, and as we look to partner with One Love (another Church of God congregation nearby) to see how we can serve better together with others on mission too.
Participating with God to be a part of his mission is an indispensable call on the life of the church, in fact God’s entire plan for his mission after Jesus is that it will be fulfilled through the life of the church lived out in the world, but this is almost always something we do together. It’s easy to forget that. Let us press on together, living in the new reality that is the Kingdom of God breaking in, and becoming a community of people shaped by the Good New of Jesus.