Hey Lighthouse/Fort George,
Have you ever wondered what the new normal is going to look like for our church?
If you are anything like me you oscillate between longing for aspects of the good old days and dreaming about how things might improve in the future. But the fact is “the good old days” are gone and whether we get to participate in Jesus’ exciting future is totally up to us.
Do you remember when Jesus was talking to Peter and said:
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (Matthew 16:18)
This is an awesome verse that reminds us if we are part of Jesus’ church we are on the winning team – Peter must have been stoked to hear this! But what Peter missed was that his participation in the advance of Jesus’ church was conditional. Jesus’ church was going to grow with or without Peter. And it’s the same for us, Jesus’ church is going to grow in Prince George with or without us. Whether we get to enjoy participation all comes down to whether we are about Jesus’ mission or about our membership.
Immediately after Jesus said these words to Peter something interesting happened. Jesus started talking about His mission. He said: “I’m going to give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.” And “I’m going to go to Jerusalem and die for the sins of the world.” Mission.
Jesus says “mission” but Peter hears “members”. Have you ever heard someone say “That guy hears what he wants to hear”? That happens to us all. And it happened to Peter. Peter was concerned with His own agenda. His vision for the church was one where the members of Jesus church would be comfortable hanging out with Jesus – wouldn’t that be fun? And so he rebukes Jesus “You’re not going to suffer, this isn’t going to happen to You!”
But Jesus won’t have any of Peter’s vision and responds with some pretty harsh words: “Get behind Me Satan.” Jesus won’t be taken off mission and if Peter’s not part of it he’s the enemy. Mission must prevail.
Here’s the point, when we move off mission and start thinking of the comfort of our membership we miss out on being part of what Jesus is up to. Jesus has no favorites, we are either with Him or against Him. And Jesus came to seek and to save the lost – those are the people outside.
When Jesus says “All the powers of hell will not conquer His church” He is talking about His mission not the comfort of our members. Jesus’ church is the group of people who are about His mission.
So when it comes to Lighthouse/Fort George let’s join Jesus. The temptation the church has faced since Peter is to fall into asking “Do I like this?” But let’s fight that and instead ask “How can we increase Jesus’ glory and expand His kingdom in PG?”
It took a bit, but Peter got on board and didn’t miss out – and if Peter could do that then there is hope for us!
I don’t have all the answers for what that looks like, but I’m looking forward to working that out with you. Let’s make that the new normal!
For a great blog post by Carey Nieuwhof about how to know whether your church is focusing in instead of out click here.