On Sunday night Christian Associates President, Rob Fairbanks invited us to “live into the movement”. He shared the commission of Jesus from John 20:21. “Peace be unto you; as the Father has sent me, even so, I send you.”
God, as part of the Trinity has commanded us to be a part of the Misseo Dei, the mission of God. Most people seem to see themselves as sending ones instead of sent ones. I find churches use this expression a lot. “We are a sending church. We are missional and support many missionaries.” Although encouraging and supporting ministries that God has called others to is good, there is something vitally missing if we believe that this is our only way to participate in the mission of God. We are all sent ones.
We also discussed how community is not created, it’s lived into. The Trinity has been in existence long before humans existed. In Genesis 1 we read “let us created man in OUR image.” Father, Son, Holy Spirit…all formed creation. Community began with the Trinity and we were invited to be a part of that. THEN, Jesus says, just like the Father sent me, I am sending you.” GO.
Anyone that is honest with himself can admit the need to be in community. We were created with a deep longing to be near to others. We should discover and participate in groups of people out of mission (passion), not out of duty or obligation. The Word must become flesh….through US!
The final thing that Rob shared really stuck with me the rest of the evening. He talked about the ability to understand our identity and role as Christians. I remember when first becoming a Christian, I had a number of well-intentioned believers from church tell me that I needed to stop associating with my non-Christian friends. Their belief was that in order for me to fully live into this new life with God I needed to give up my relationships with others. This never seemed right to me. You know when you find out something amazing, I mean something absolutely life changing….don’t you feel the need to share that news with others??? Yeah, me too.
Churches have become very good at drawing people in, leading them to a relationship with Christ and then excluding them from the real world. What if we encouraged and trained people to live where they are? If someone is a drug addict and finds Jesus, would it not be fruitful if he then went back to his friends that are also struggling with addiction and shared his life changing decision (with the right support)? I am sad when thinking of this question because I see so many that don’t take this path. It’s risky. You’re not always welcome in your social circles when you have changed who are and your purpose in life. I want to be known as a friend of sinners, because you know what? I am a sinner and I desire to walk along this journey in life next to others. Shoulder to shoulder.
Friends, we are sent ones. Don’t walk away from relationships with those that do not yet believe. Stay in with a renewed purpose. No matter how difficult that can be at first, know that your voice matters and others, just like you were, are desiring something more in their lives. Everyone was creating in and for community. Our job is to invite and participate in the mission of God.
How are you doing this?