Focus is powerful! These past two weeks I've written about five things we would give focus to if CPC could only do 5 things. The first is Prayer, and the second is Developing Worshippers. If you would like to know more about those mean for us, you can read about them here. Now, let me tell you about the third.
3) Multiply Missional People & Missional Groups
Each word in the statement above matters.
Missional. Missional means giving focus and priority to reaching people who don't know Jesus yet through the rhythms of our everyday lives. If a church's primary thrust of evangelism is a Sunday service that is designed to attract unbelievers, it means that that church's evangelism window is really open for about an hour and a half a week. But if a church leverages Sunday gatherings to be about encountering God through worship and equipping the saints through the Word to live lives as missionaries where they live, work and go to school, then it means the evangelism window of that church opens to 24/7!
People. Jesus treated every one of his disciples as a missionary. That means, that if you and I consider ourselves followers of Jesus, we too are sent by Jesus as His representatives to the people in our everyday lives. While you may not be called an evangelist (Eph 4.11), we all are missionaries and witnesses of Jesus. Witnessing doesn't mean 4 spiritual laws or a starchy memorized testimony, it means allowing your words and life to be a living example of the love and truth of Jesus to your neighbours, co-workers and friends who don't know Him yet. Can you imagine the impact that is possible as our whole church family -youngest to oldest- grows in their missionary identity in Christ? It's exciting!
Groups. When you think of it, every time a group of Christians get together, it's a group of missionaries. Every leisurely stroll at the airpark, every lunch together in town, every camping or hunting trip together, and every small group meeting at a home (or zoom, these days!) is a gathering of missionaries. Imagine a missionary working overseas alone. God will use them. Now imagine that same missionary working together with a handful of other missionaries in that same area. Not only will God use them, but their reach and impact can be greater because of their ability to work as a team and support one another! Same is true here. I've observed that those who feel uncomfortable in evangelism (very common!) find sharing Jesus through community -Christian friendships and small groups- much less intimidating. What if some of the people you care deeply about could discover Jesus one day through friendships and groups that are on mission together? Could make an eternal difference!
Multiply. Just as the disciples of Jesus were taught to make other disciples, healthy friendships and healthy groups will make other friendships and groups. Healthy things multiply. This isn't always easy, but it is important. One day I will have to walk my daughters down an aisle for their weddings. It won't be easy, but it will be important. A healthy family doesn't prevent itself from multiplying, it plans for it, accepts and grieves the changes (important!), and celebrates the newly formed family. In the same way, we must discover how to do the same with our small groups. Failing to do so keeps a group inward focused and statistics say that group will eventually "die." Groups that learn the art of multiplying live on, foster a welcoming culture in the church and always have room to reach at least one more who doesn't know Jesus yet.
I hope some of the thoughts above challenge you. I know this challenges me! In Mark 3.14 Jesus called His followers 1) to be with Him, and 2) to be sent like Him. I know I have so much room to grow in this. Do you? I look forward to being stretched personally and to leading us to grow in this together! Let's give it focus.