Mission - April 19, 2015 _____________________________________________________________________________
have tried to communicate the core vision of KCF in three words: Gathering –
Growing – Going. The purpose of our gatherings – from this Sunday morning
service, to our various small groups or house groups, to the ladies conference,
to JP’s recent men’s group, to lunches at Tim Horton’s – the purpose of those
gatherings is all about GROWING – growing in our relationship with Christ and
each other. But what is the purpose of that growing?
brings us to the next “G-word”: GOING. We GATHER to GROW in order to GO. In
speaking of “going” I am not referring to physical movement. Going may not
require movement from one location to another at all. I am referring to mission
– by mission I mean ministry – by ministry I mean service – by service I mean
“making a difference.” GOING = MISSION = MINISTRY =
SERVICE = MAKING A DIFFERENCE
these thoughts began to stir in my heart a couple of weeks ago a children’s
song from my Sunday school days came back to me: ‘Brighten the corner where you
are.’ It’s as simple as that. Don’t complicate it. Don’t clutter it with
complex programs and structures. Accept the corner God has placed you in, and
in that corner be the light you are and make a difference.
a church/community loses its sense of mission, that lost sense of mission is
never the real problem; it is merely a symptom of the core problem. The real
problem is that over the years it became inwardly focused and its mission
became self-serving. It is very easy to slip into this without even knowing it
is happening. We need to constantly challenge ourselves with the words of
Christ who said: “I
did not come to be served, but to serve.”
is impossible to separate Christ from mission. It is impossible to separate
Christian discipleship from mission. To be His disciple is to go on a mission
in which we make a difference.
I awoke Easter Monday morning there was considerable agitation in my soul. It
was not necessarily negative, but it was profoundly challenging. Two elements
came together to form that challenge. I want to share those with you.
first was the Easter sermon I had preached just twenty four hours earlier. The
second was the picture on the following slide. (SLIDE # 3)
that first Easter morning Mary Magdalene was in the Garden Tomb. She remained
when the others had left. She was absolutely filled with confusion. But more
than anything else she was in the depths of mourning. Isolated in her grief,
Jesus revealed Himself to her. She was the first to witness the resurrected
Mission begins with a personal encounter with Christ
– an encounter so real that no one can ever take it from you. You may not be
able to explain it but the reality is such that you can never deny it. That’s
what happened to Mary. In a very real sense that meeting in the garden was her
point of gathering. In that gathering she was instructed by Christ: this was
her point of growing. And then we arrive at this: “GO to my brethren and say to them...”
there Mary was commissioned by Christ. Right there her experience of gathering
and growing moved to going.
word commission has many aspects of definition.
This is the one that matters to this presentation: ‘authority
to act for, in behalf of, or in place of another.’ Mary Magdalene was given authority
by Christ to act for, on behalf of, and in the place of that Christ. Right
there Mary the mourner became Mary the missionary.
The word missionary
has accumulated all kinds of clutter through the long history of the church.
Its uncluttered definition is simply this: ‘one who is on a mission.’ That is what Mary became
– a woman on a mission. Notice also she was given a specific message and
assigned a particular people group to take that message to. That is missions at
its best – missions at its highest possibility.
GOING = MISSION = MINISTRY
= SERVICE = MAKING A DIFFERENCE: that is what happened in the life of “Mary the mourner becomes
Mary the missionary.” (SLIDE # 6)
All of this was brewing in my heart
when I awoke on Easter Monday morning. Then I found the picture that is on the
slide. Obviously I am blessed with this scene of my daughter giving a blanket
to this girl in Haiti. That is going; that is mission; that is making a
difference. But what really caught me (and I don’t think I was prepared for
this) is the child sitting on the ground. She has become a defining point for
I don’t care how much we
gather and how much we grow; if our gathering and growing never reaches the
little girl sitting in Haitian dust then we are missing a vital aspect of
(SLIDE # 8)
I am asking that you allow me to
draw upon my personal experience for just a moment. I graduated Bible School
and entered the ministry in 1970. I am closing in on 45 years of fulltime
ministry – mostly pastoral in nature. It is not easy to define 45 years of anything,
and certainly not ministry. But Easter Monday I did a great deal of reflecting
upon this very thing.
It seemed to me that much of my
effort has been spent dealing with what I call “family fuss.” Is anyone here
familiar with the experience of family fuss? We find it in our natural
families, our local church families; we find it in each and every community –
the policing community, medical community, and on and on.
After 45 years of pastoral ministry
I am thinking about writing a curriculum for pastors called: “Fuss Management
101.”If I had to identify the number
one family fuss it would be the doctrinal fuss.
Like Mary we have all had our
personal encounters with the resurrected Christ. Like Mary we have been given a
message. Like Mary we have been given an assignment. But before we get out of
the garden we are comparing our personal encounters, the message we’ve been
given, and the assignment we’ve been handed. With this the great doctrinal fuss
fuss over dotting the theological “i” and crossing the theological “t” – we
pore over exact wording in our statements of faith getting them perfectly
aligned with Biblical revelation. And then our statements of faith become more
defining than the Bible itself.
keep coming back to the Easter reality of mission.I keep coming back to the little girl sitting
in Haitian dust. I keep coming back to the question: What difference has forty
five years of “fuss management” made to the girl in the picture?
so we fuss about nits and all the while we are picking them, the little girl
sits in the dust patiently waiting for that one “Mary the mourner” who has been
transformed into “Mary the missionary” who brings a message of hope, rescue and