Reboot 2021: Focus on the Mission
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
We have spent several weeks discussing “Reboot.” We have looked at getting clear on the essentials, not making excuses or wallowing in despair, but instead trusting in God. This week we look at getting a clear focus on our mission. In the 1990s, I sat as a layperson in numerous meetings, spanning nine months, as the church I attended tried to narrow down their mission. It wasn’t until the following fall, sitting Disciple Bible class, that I realized the mission had already been given to us by Christ himself. As people who are themselves, disciples of Christ, we must take to heart the great commission found in Matthew 28:19-20.
When a congregation gets clear on the mission leads to:
Go!: This means we cannot be insularly focused just on the needs of the church folk, but we must be outwardly focused on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. COVID-19 pushed us inward and into survival mode. We have to reverse this natural tendency and be intentional in reaching outward.
Make Disciples: We will introduce people through our loving actions and words to the life-transforming grace offered through Jesus Christ. It is here that outreach, mission, compassion, and justice work hand-and-hand with faith sharing.
Baptizing: Part of our invitation to the world must be an invitation into the sacramental life of worshipping God within the church. As Christians, we are called to live as a body, drawn together in worship and linked together sacramentally.
Teaching them to Obey: Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” As disciples, we must have hearts for obedience and be willing to teach others to be obedient to the disciples.
Remember/Trust: As we go about making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey, we do not do this alone. Christ is with us.
The third quarter tends to lend itself to ministry planning for the new year. As you begin to dream about next year, here are some questions for the ministry planning team:
-How is this ministry going into our community?
-How are we sharing our faith and making disciples through this ministry?
-How are we inviting people to live with us sacramentally through this ministry?
-How are we teaching people the commandments of Christ?
-What importance are we putting on obedience to those commandments?
-In this overwhelming work, how are we trusting that Christ is with us? Resourcing us? Giving us strength? Guiding us through prayer?
Congregations have been blessed with this season to relaunch and retool their ministry. We must have a clear-eyed focus on the mission (our WIG) to Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the world.
Dr. Leah S. Hidde-Gregory
Executive Director of the Lamar Smith Center for Evangelism, Mission and Church Growth
Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church
Storm the Gates!