Friday, February 27, 2009

A Purpose That Melts In Your Mouth

If you can remember the letters “M&M,” like in the colored covered chocolate candies, than you can remember the two key words of our purpose statement…“meeting and moving.” If you remember “M&M” you can always remember the idea of our purpose. That makes ours the only church purpose statement I know of that melts in your mouth and not in your hands.

The purpose statement of Grace Church begins by saying that we exists to meet people where they are. This has two very important implications. The first implication is a spiritual one. Every person is somewhere on their spiritual journey. Some people are far from knowing Christ while others are very near committing to a personal relationship with Jesus. Some are new believers while others are growing deeper in their faith.

The second implication of meeting people where they are is geographical. We desire to be more proactive in taking our ministries off of our campus and into our community so that we can meet people where they are at both spiritually as well as geographically. Most all of what we do here at Grace occurs inside our walls and property lines. This is good, but let’s be honest. The vast majority of the people who live in and around our community will never come on to our property as their first contact with us. As a result, if all we do is reach those who come on to our property, we will reach very few people in comparison to the number of men, women, boys and girls that God has put all around us.

We must make it our mission and our purpose as a church to penetrate our community. We must take the ministries of Grace Church outside of our building and off of our campus and out into our community. We must meet people where they are, not just spiritually, but also geographically. This is very much the directive and pattern of Jesus Himself. In Mark 16:15 we find the disciples, after the crucifixion of Jesus, hiding in an upper room fearing for their very lives. They are scared and unsure of their future as individuals and as a group of Christ-followers. The resurrected Christ appears to them and gives them a directive. We see it in Mark 16:15. He tells them to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.”

Now let’s break this down to the smallest of steps. Remember, they are locked in an upper room. Now, if they are going to go into all the world, what is the first step they have to take? They have to take the first step to move outside of their upper room. They will never make it into all the world until they first move outside of their upper room. Now what is our upper room today as followers of Christ? I would like to suggest to you that it is our church building. We spend all of our time putting together programs inside our building and on our campus and hope that a few seekers find their way inside our facility. But if we are going to accomplish our task of reaching as many as possible and making it hard for the 250,000 people of our community to go to hell, then we must take some steps outside of our building and outside of our property lines and begin to meet people right where they are, spiritually and geographically.

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