This past Sunday, our Launch Team talked through mission. We talked about what keeps us from being on mission and how the Gospel might overcome our barriers. A special joy was having Reid Monaghan and some of the foks at Jacob’s Well. Reid moved his family about a year ago to plant a church in Jersey. (I know, who voluntarily moves to Jersey?) Reid made a great contribution to our conversation. He reminded us that we were on mission as individuals AND as a community.
We often see evangelism in an individualistic and linear way. So I meet Bob who doesn’t know Jesus. I share the Gospel with Bob. I ask Bob to respond. I lead Bob in a prayer. And I celebrate Bob’s conversion. While this does happen, and it’s a JOY when it does, it’s not the only way that it happens.
God has given us the church, the community for a reason. And perhaps it would be freeing for us to remember that we’re not on mission alone. Reid reminded us that Jesus likens someone coming to faith to new birth. When a baby is born – mom rejoices. But so does dad and grandparents and sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends – you get the point. An entire community is involved.
So what if evangelism looked like this. I meet Bob who doesn’t know Jesus. My wife invites Bob to come over for dinner. We invite Bob to meet our community (for Sunday worship, or a bbq, or a Super Bowl Party, or whatever). In our community, Bob meets George who shares his passion for cars and they hit it off. Bob also connects with James and they start watching the Eagles games together. Also Bob meets Tom who helps him move into a new apartment. And Bob starts discovering Jesus through me, my wife, George, James and Tom. One of us gets to share the Gospel with him. Someone else gets to pray with him. Someone else gets to study the Bible with him. And one day, I get to baptize him. And we all get to celebrate God’s grace to Bob!
There was nothing earth shattering in what Reid shared. But as he did, I felt like the light bulbs turned on. We didn’t have to do this thing called mission alone. We could do it together.
Freddy, one of the guys in our community, reminded us of this verse. Read it and you’ll find yourself saying Amen with us.
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)