Answering the “Why”

We are in week six of a process that will (hopefully) lead us to discover the way God intends us to glorify Him and make disciples. A week ago, during our discussion on “Collective Potential,” I was asked the “why” question. In fact, it was posed like this: “Why does any of this matter?”

This question represents the power of any kind of discovery. Just going through the motions of the process, without knowing the reason behind it, wastes time and emotion. Because of the key nature of this question, I “hit pause” on our forward movement and attempted to answer the “why” of it all. I turned to Paul’s defense of his actions in his first letter to the church at Corinth to discover the missionary strategy.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.     (1 Corinthians 9:19-27)

From this, we see that Paul set out some key concepts that we must have if we are going to obey Christ and make an impact here in Concord, Cabarrus County, and the world. Not only are these missionary concepts, they are the reason “why” we are grappling with our Kingdom Concept.

First, we must possess a clear goal. We cannot exist simply to “be big,” to “do music well,” to “have a growing Sunday School,” or to “enjoy our family.” None of these represent the Lord’s instruction to His people. We must, therefore, make and mature disciples of all people groups (Matthew 28:19-20). Making/maturing disciples is the one thing that should propel our church to do anything that we do.

Second, the way that we set out to accomplish this goal is for our church to think like missionaries. This means that we must know the people we are seeking to reach. This idea correlates directly with the “local predicament” discussion in our Kingdom Concept. We must know who they are, what they are like, and what they believe about King Jesus. Also, it means that we must know ourselves. Our goal is to build a bridge for the gospel from us to them, and we must be students of both. In the above passage of Scripture, Paul shows that he knows who he is (his freedom and position in Christ) and who those he seeks to “win” are (their position in or out of the law).

Finally, we see that we must discipline ourselves in order to accomplish our goal. Comparing his own efforts to those of athletes, Paul encourages his readers to keep our goal THE priority. (“Run that you may obtain it.”) In order to win, we must exercise self-control in the process. As an application to our church, we cannot do whatever we want and still hope to achieve our goal. Everything we do must be done with discipline so that we succeed. (In this case, we must set everything else aside so that we excel in the making of disciples.)

We must become what we aren’t in order to make disciples in Concord and Cabarrus County. Some years ago, I participated in a time management seminar. The facilitator made this statement: “The successful time manager is willing to do that which the unsuccessful time manger is unwilling to do.” We should adapt this for church. “The successful disciple-making church is will to do what the unsuccessful disciple-making church is unwilling to do.”

So, the effort given to discovering our unique role in the Kingdom results ultimately in making disciples of the nations.

Whatever it takes. For the rest of our lives. Our aim is to make disciples. Until Jesus comes.
In Him,
Pastor Jim