Monday, July 9, 2012

Alone, we cannot...

So I have the privilege of being a part of this awesome thing called the Lausanne Movement.  It started a long, long time ago when a bunch of world Christians got together and put together a commitment to world missions and evangelization.  Then, in 1989, another generation met together in Manila to build on that commitment for that generation.  In 2010, our generation of missions leaders from all over the world met together in South Africa to recommit to those principles and evaluate where the global church is at in fulfilling the mission and to put that mission in the language of today.

This summer, I get to join a group of 120 leaders from North American in Madison, Wisconsin to discuss just what that looks like in our lives.  So I spent this weekend reading over the Cape Town Commitment.  It is comprehensive in fleshing out just what the call to follow Christ and to share him with the world looks like.  And I could hear the voices from hundreds of cultures as they confessed the parts of the commitment that the global church has neglected and gave us vision on where to go from here.

But I was also overwhelmed.  The world is huge.  Its problems are huge.  It is almost impossible to even imagine being a part of transforming and reconciling the world to Christ.  At the same time, I was encouraged.  Because I saw how big the church is that we are a part of... it's truly a global church on this global mission, and we are not doing it in our own power.  We are doing it in the name of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

It brings me back to something that God's been teaching me this year.  I started attending Berkly just over a year ago, after several years with a rather tenuous connection to church bodies.  I would attend off and on, I actually was part of a church planting team for a while, but mostly I've been following the call of Jesus on my life into the world, and I haven't always had a church community that values those things.  So I've spent a lot of time the last couple of years laboring alone.

What's been so beautiful about Berkley is that I've seen in my own life the power of the body.  It's a weekly encouragement to me to enter worship on a Sunday morning and remember that I'm not the only person who loves and follows Jesus (or even just believes that he exists).  I've seen how my experiences and my passions are contributing to the body something that no one else is.  At the same time, I get the benefit of all of the other people in the body who are bringing their gifts to share with the rest of us.  They are providing things in my life that I cannot provide or find for myself.

I felt a little bit like that when reading the Cape Town Commitment this weekend.  As I read the overwhelming call to action for the church, I also remembered that each church body and each individual in the body is gifted and called to be a part of it--to bring their personalities and resources and energy and weaknesses into that global mission--and that somehow Jesus can take each of our contributions and make it so much more than it is.  Truly, it's impossible for me as an individual to hope to live out all of those principles.  But I am a part of something bigger.  And my job is to bring what I have to offer, turn it over to Jesus, and listen humbly to the passions and callings of those around me.  I need to help them and support them and encourage them and pray for them.  And I need to receive help and prayer and support and encouragement from them.

So as we consider the way that our gospel has not truly reflected the whole gospel of Jesus--the spiritual, physical, and social aspects--I hope that you will remember this.  You are gifted and called to reach people and to do things that no one else can do.  Find those things.  Do those things.  And do everything you can to encourage the others in your church body around you to find those things and do those things in their lives to.

Together, with our hands and hearts joined together, we can absolutely fulfill the mission that God has given his church.   Alone, we cannot.

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