As I have repeatedly written about in this past year, the opportunities available to the church at this pivotal time in history are endless. All of these opportunities are grounded in one key foundational understanding. And, that understanding is in purpose. That is, the understanding in why the church exists. The church is one of the few organizations that exists not for the benefit of its members. The church exists to live out the Great Commission:
“Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 (MSG)
I am struck by the Message’s translation when referring to the disciples not being sure “about risking themselves totally.” Is that not where we might find ourselves as individuals or as the church today? Not quite sure? Not maybe willing to risk? Not being totally all-in? We have indeed all been through so much in this past year. If we have learned nothing else, I would hope that we have learned that the only thing that is steadfast and solid is Christ in turbulent and uncertain times. Everything else shifts, but God is unshakable. So, if we can’t be all-in and risk ourselves totally for Christ, then what or who are we willing to risk for?
Church, this is our season of commitment. As we move out of this pandemic, it is time for us to deepen our commitment to the Great Commission. It is time for us to be all in! We do this through our commitment to our own personal, intentional discipleship journey, being a part of a faith community that focuses on reaching new people for Christ (service and evangelism), and a commitment to the community your church is taking responsibility for reaching, serving, and loving.
Our commitment has to move way beyond and get way past privileges of membership to the understanding that being a disciple of Jesus is about commitment. It is about the responsibility of the church for living out the making of disciples. When a faith community develops this deeper understanding and commitment, they will indeed be able to take advantage of this pivotal time in the life of the church and reach people who are looking for community, hope, love, and a sense of belonging. Are you all-in?