Pastor Miles opened this Sunday's message laying out the plan for the year 2005 to go through the gospels as a church. Today's message focused on two specific passages in Matthew that create a clear picture of what mission and vision are.
Last year the San Diego Chargers had a rough year. Drew Brees who is the Chargers quarterback had even been benched last season for 5 games because of poor performance. Phillip River's was brought on as the rookie quarterback this season as a possible replacement for Drew Brees. However, at the beginning of the season Drew Brees stepped up to take on a seemingly impossible mission. That mission for him was to bring the Chargers to the playoffs. Now with Drew Brees' incredible improvement and leadership on the team the Chargers are six days away from the playoffs.
However, Drew Brees couldn't make it to the playoffs on his own. He needed the skills of all the Chargers to work together to make it there. Just as we cannot complete our mission on our own, we need God's strength to make it. Therefore, it is our responsibility to submit to Him 100% to see our mission made possible.
The Church's Business
A corporation has a business, which is a specific work they engage in. For example, the San Diego Chargers have a business, and that is to play football. The church has a business also and that is to make fishers of men.
Luke 2:41-43 states, His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it.
Luke 2:46-49 goes on to say, Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously." And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"
Jesus had a mission while he was on earth and that was to be about the Father's business. Our mission on earth is to be about the Father's business as well.
Matthew 4:18-20 says, And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
The business of the church is to make fishers of men. Therefore, as followers of Christ our responsibility is to go out and be fishers of men.
Jesus had a mission for those who chose to follow Him. His mission involved equipping His followers to evangelize and minister to others so that many would come to know Him and follow after Him. However, we cannot participate in this mission unless we are submitted to the Lord, and follow His ways.
Pastor Miles mentioned a story of time when he was at the dentist and the lady who was working on his teeth mentioned that her husband had recently left her, and now he and his girlfriend were going to the church where Miles was a pastor at that time.
She then went on to tell him that he had called Miles his pastor. Miles corrected her saying that he was not the pastor of that man because that creates a problem and that is that we cannot call someone our pastor, or Jesus our Lord, if we forsake to follow in the way we are called to. We must abandon our sinful ways and follow in the ways God calls us and a pastor instructs and demonstrates.
The Mission Statement
The Rock has declared a mission statement that falls along the lines of Matthew 28:19-20, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
The mission statement states, "The Rock Church exists to save, equip, and send out soul-winners for Jesus Christ." Pastor Miles noted that the goal for the Rock is to develop an army of people that are committed to the mission of the church.
Some of us may be thinking, what can I possibly do to live out the mission of the church? The first thing to do is to ask the Lord to use the gifts He has graciously gifted us with to minister to others. You don't have to be a pastor to minister to others. We are all meant to minister through the gifts God has given us.
Some of us are gifted in prayer, and are called to pray fervently for the body of believers and lost souls. Others are gifted to encourage, to teach, to organize, and so on. There is no gift of sitting or listening. As Christians our sole job isn't to attend church every Sunday to sit in a chair and listen to a sermon, we must move beyond that.
With a Mission Comes a Vision
A vision is a picture of our preferred future. A vision can often seem impossible but having a vision for one's life gives direction. A vision also allows us to know when we have accomplished what we set out to do. It is vital to write down the vision that we have for our life and run with it.
The Rock has a specific vision statement, which is "to be a powerful evangelistic force that engages every segment of society as a motivated army of believers in Jesus Christ. We are wholeheartedly committed to using our gifts anywhere at anytime to share the gospel, while influencing and transforming our culture. This 'force' will evangelize San Diego and empower other churches to use this ministry model around the world."
Living Out the Vision
Are we willing to be a powerful evangelistic force to society as an army in Jesus Christ ready to be used anywhere at anytime? In order to live out this vision it is important to look at how our Christian witness can be more powerful. Also we must consider what an army in Jesus Christ would look like.
Pastor Miles defined an army as a group of trained soldiers or fighters organized to engage in battle. Are we interested and ready to be part of such an army for the Lord?
Also to live out this vision it is important to know whom we are called to reach out to and that we are ready at any moment to be available to minister to others. The opportunity could arise at Starbucks when we're there to get our morning cup of coffee. It can be on our school campus, in our office, on our own street; no matter where the opportunity may arise we must always be ready.
In living out the vision we can see a culture transformed. What would a transformed culture look like? Perhaps from a life living out this vision we would see the culture around us transform into a culture in which people encourage one another on a daily basis and pray for one another.
Pray About It
Do you have a mission and vision that directs your life? Have you considered what your place is in the Rock church? Are there things you want to see change in your spiritual life as a new year begins? Have you considered what it is you will fast from as the Rock begins their three-week fast on January 9th?
The first step in all of this is to begin with prayer. Pray for the Lord's guidance and direction and you will see an amazing transformation unfold in and around you as God works in and through you.