I came across this quote the other day in Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways. As he’s describing the need for the church to rediscover and re-engage what he calls the apostolic genius that lies at the heart of every movement of Jesus’ church, he cautions of something else that lurks beneath the surface as well:
There exists in every church something that sooner or later works against the very purpose for which it came into existence. So we must strive very hard, by the grace of God to keep the church focused on the mission that Christ originally gave to it.
I’m not sure there’s anything I’ve ever done in 15 years of youth ministry that is more important than helping students and their parents discover and take hold of the mission that Christ has given His church. It’s so easy for us to lose sight of why we’re still here. There is work to do. We need to be consistently reminded of our mission to seek and save the lost.
Not to keep church kids out of trouble…
Not to gather the biggest crowds..
Not to build the next generation of tradition-clones…
We are here to resuscitate those who are gasping for real, life-giving breath.
We are here to direct the attention of the thirsty to the one who can truly satisfy.
We are here, church, to reveal the transformation that only God can do and lead people to step into His reconciling grace.
I hope you haven’t forgotten. I hope these thoughts are only a reminder of what you already know and are already living out. But just maybe, the methods of church that you’ve always known have shaded and hidden the real mission. Maybe the apparent success of yesterday has distracted your vision from all that Jesus has really asked you to do today and tomorrow. Maybe “the way we’ve always done it” has so hypnotized your imagination that you can’t recognize the potential of any other way. If so, remember.
Re-engage God’s Holy Spirit in your life and learn again to listen to His still, small voice. Fan into flame the gifts His Spirit brings into your life for the express purpose of equipping you as His Ambassadors. His is “the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”