The notes from messaged delivered on MCC future vision.
I’m not a preacher but God works in mysterious ways and thus I find myself in front of you this morning, with a calling from God to challenge, to question and to inspire, at least this morning anyways.
A lot of what you will hear this morning, particularly from me, can best me summed up as musings, questions, stirrings, passions and a calling. Nothing is set in stone but when preparing this, I felt God make it very clear that I could not overstate anything. It’s that important. If you were here last week and heard Lucy and particularly some of what Josh had you say, you’ll have sense of what is to come this morning.
This Sunday each year we usually hear about vision for the following year, and whilst Tina will talk specifically about Sunday mornings for next year soon, there is very much a sense that a stake in the ground moment is imminent for MCC. Far more than just something to focus on for one year.
There has been a very real stirring amongst MCC leadership (and others) for MCC, the people:
To become MORE like the Jesus we belong to. To be equipped in our private lives and corporate times together and to be SENT out into our world to make disciples, a renewd call to be living more like the radical Jesus we claim to serve. To fulfill the mission we have been called to.
How has this transpired?
Lou Giles – Husk Creative – Church website questionnaire results best summed up as “Real people trying to live like Jesus did”
Foundation team – Ian Waddington talked about what does that really mean ‘trying to live like Jesus’ – are we doing this? Are we actually willing to do this – sacrifice, put others before ourselves, put our mission above earthly possessions, be like the radical Jesus?
Staffing Book – On my bedside table for a year. God’s timing it was read when it was. It was a bit of kick in the guts, but also aligned so well with these conversations that had transpired.
Here’s a paraphrase of the opening few lines. Setting the scene for what all of the book is based on.
“Every church is missional or it isn’t a church. Every true church is focussed more on transforming the world than building up its membership. We believe churches that sit around waiting for people to come to them have stopped being a church”
What is this mission? – let me refresh you.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”
An interesting point about this passage is the translation of the word you. In this context it is plural – and whilst that surely doesn’t exclude any individual effort, what it is saying is that this is a joint venture, a mission to be carried out in community, and Jesus is promising he is right there with us by his spirit, yeah that Holy Spirt guy we’ve heard about recently. He’s actually a real thing and here to empower us in this mission.
How many times have we heard this read, understood what it means, even thought about the implications, yet done nothing? Gone about our lives, felt guilty for a while even, perhaps, but ultimately brushed it under the carpet and moved on, lives unchanged?
So what does all of this mean, what am I getting at here? – Simply put, we are called to be a SENT PEOPLE (living for Jesus, not ourselves)
Church, all of us here together, this is not a Sunday morning social club. We are here to be equipped and discipled so we can make disciples of others. Now don’t get me wrong, we meet together to be equipped for life, for growing in maturity, for being part of God’s community on earth, for learning how to enjoy God – BUT, if that’s all it is I think we are missing the point.
So quickly back to this timeline of events – There have been around 10 meetings since with foundation/elders/vision team – I am unable to quite describe, nor have I experienced the speed of unification around this sense of a renewed calling.
One of those meetings, held only just last week as you’ll be aware, was with our 20′s and 30′s. Watch out for them – they are on fire! At that meeting the following statement was made.
“We have been conditioned by our culture to think of ourselves as individuals first and that our wealth and security come before all else, with Jesus on the side like a social hobby”
Now this is more than just an idea, THIS IS REALITY. We just need to look at our own lives and those around us.
But instead of this reality, we should be thinking of ourselves as members of the body of Christ, spirit-led, fulfilling the mission laid out for us, living by faith, trusting God for our every need.
As Josh said last week – Imagine a church full of these kind of “radicals” – imagine Massey churches, full of these “radicals” . What a thing that would be. What an impact we would have in our community.
And just speaking of full churches, MCC is 26 years old. – take a look around, where is everybody? And I don’t mean people from churches that came here because they think MCC is somehow better than the one they were going to. Where are the people we have invited, the people I have invited? The people we have made a priority of connecting with, forming relationships with, in order that we may win them for Christ.
When was the last time we simply shared the love of Jesus with someone? The last time we actually just stopped rushing around being “too busy” and made time to simply talk with someone. Man I am sick of using that term too busy. This building should be bursting at the seams, not because that is our goal, but because it’s a direct result of acting out our mission, making new disciples. Church, I cannot emphasise strongly enough the sense of God saying, it’s time to actually BE THE CHURCH I called you to be. I don’t want 1 ½ hours a week of Sunday morning obligation. I want your lives! Trust me, allow me to use you for my kingdom, I’m right here with you! Remember Matthew 28:20 – “surely I am with you always to the very end of the age”
And if we are really committed to being God’s church, living out the great commission, serving each other and our communities – What does that mean for how we prioritise our time, for why and how we serve, as part of this church community? What could it look like for how many hours a week we work and what we do with our time, the types of things we buy, the places we eat, how much we give?
Becks, and I’m sure she won’t mind me mentioning this, made a simple, yet profound comment at last week’s meeting. It went something like “what if when I went out for lunch I ate somewhere cheaper so that I could afford to pay for someone else’s lunch who can’t afford any or for whom spending a few minutes in conversation with a listening ear would be the difference to their day, or the beginning of building a relationship”.
Does that seem like such a simple, yet potentially powerful thing or what?
Are people excited? Are people scared? Are people nervous?
* What is the main purpose of our lives?
* To what degree are we, a church community of disciples making disciples?
* How important is the Great Commission in our lives?
* What would it look like if we had intentional practices that we agreed upon as a church family… that we agreed to bless people in our communities and eat with them on a regular basis, that we committed to being intentional about growing people in their faith and as leaders, to listening to God for a period of time each week… and to being accountable for these sorts of things in our small group times together?
* What would our church look like if the paid staff did very little of the actual ministry but equipped and trained and supported unpaid staff to do most of it? And if paid staff were expected to spend a decent chunk of their time out in their local communities, interacting with non church people and inviting them into conversations about Jesus?