Have you ever been in a position where you have had to explain yourself on paper? To take deep personal convictions that have grown inside of you over years of stretching and working out your own salvation, put them on paper, with the hope others can fully understand who you are?
Where do you start?
Do you start with the most important things like God’s amazing grace, intimacy with Christ or the power of prayer? Or are these things just expected to be a part of every Christian leaders life and philosophy?
In order for people to begin to know who I am they need to know that I am a sinner saved by Grace, desperately in need of the power of the Holy Spirit, which I believe is readily available for all who call upon the Name of the Lord. I cherish the Lord’s leadership in my life and desperately desire to see Jesus glorified in our culture and communities.
But does all of this reflect my philosophy of ministry or does it just give you a clearer picture of who I am?
I suppose the best way for me to explain my philosophy of ministry is to explain how I feel the Church should be trying to accomplish the great commission; to present strategies for HOW we are to live out the WHY we exist, both as a local church, and more personally, as Followers of Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus delivers some of his last words to his disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This now serves as the greatest mission for every Follower of Jesus, whether fully employed by an organized local church or not.
So how should we accomplish this mandate?
I believe that to effectively impact our communities and culture with the gospel message, and to fully live out this great mission in our lives, we need to focus and rally around these three strategies:
COME AND SEE
To design unforgettable opportunities for people to experience God.
This is about creating an environment where both churched and unchurched people love to attend. An place where they can experience and discover God. An experience that both reveals the true authentic love of our Heavenly Father and demonstrates His power over any circumstance that we may face. It’s these moments that cause us to look up and see Him when life is pulling our focus down.
I believe in miracles, signs and wonders. I believe that God uses these incredible acts to draw people toward Himself. I believe that the greatest miracle we see today is when someone confesses their faith in Jesus and decides to follow wholeheartedly after Him.
I believe that God is creative and gives us creativity to communicate the never-changing truths found in His Word. And while the message of the Gospel is unchanging, the methods in which we communicate those truths to an ever-changing culture must, in fact, change in order to be effective in reaching this culture for Jesus.
I believe that all ‘come and see’ experiences must be guest aware, taking into consideration that there will always be some among us who don’t yet know Jesus. Therefore what we say must always be held in balance with how we say it. It’s not about watering down the Gospel, it’s about making it completely accessible to every economic background, gender, race and generation.
To lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus.
The Christian walk was never intended to be experienced in isolation; instead it was intended to be experienced in a community of fellow Believers engaged in a passionate pursuit of God.
I believe that circles are better than rows. Therefore everything we do should be to encourage people into life-giving communities where they can do life together, celebrate victories and battle difficulties hand-in-hand. These communities are not intended to be cliques that reject outsiders, but rather to be points of connection and spiritual growth for anyone who would feel drawn to be a part of them.
I believe our theology needs to engage this culture by exploring the hard questions of today. It is my desire to teach the theological ‘whys’ behind all that we do and believe by developing a culture where people truly hunger to read the Bible together, to discuss it, and to see their lives transformed through it.
I believe the scriptures are not about defending a faith, but about knowing a loving Saviour and who we are in relationship to Him. I desire to see people able to clearly articulate their love for Jesus, expressed in grace and confidence in what they believe.
GO AND TELL
To position ourselves within reach of people to make a difference.
This might be the most important responsibility of the Church; to be missionaries right where we live and work. This is not the sole responsibility of the employed pastoral and ministry staff, but the Kingdom priority for every Follower of Jesus. We will not be a group of spiritual consumers, rather a movement of spiritual contributors.
I believe being ‘mission minded’ means we serve our communities and we build authentic relationships with the people in them. This means that instead of worrying how our world might change the church, we engage the power of the Holy Spirit and work to see the church change our world.
I believe in order to reach people no one is reaching, we must to do things no one is doing and go places no one is going. This means we will do anything short of sin to position ourselves within reach of people who don’t yet know Jesus.
I believe that Kingdom purpose is greater then personal preference and that a community of diverse people submitted in unity, one to another, under the power of the Holy Spirit is unstoppable. This means we give up things we love for things we love even more.
So there it is.
In no way is this supposed to serve as a complete or exhaustive list, but rather provide a glimpse into what I consider important. I hope I have been able to show you a piece of my heart and provide you with an idea of the strategies I believe God has given me to fulfill His missional mandate. More to that, help bring clarity to what Jesus outlined as our priorities and purpose while on this earth.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)
I believe that the Kingdom of God is not a dictatorship, but is one lead through relationships. Effective leadership comes from listening to and engaging in the lives of people. I strongly believe that as a Christian leader, it is my responsibility to both encourage and empower people to grow to their fullest potential, living in unity bent of purpose, through my authentic relationship with others.
And on that day, when Jesus comes to gather His own, I will stand before His throne and hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”