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Living On Mission Where You Are (Shift 1 of 4)

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By Mitch Jolly

What if we have replaced the simplicity of Christian discipleship (hearing the Word of the Lord and obeying him) with consumable spiritual commodities that in fact have nothing to do with being a follower of Jesus?

It’s easy to replace hearing the Word of the Lord and obeying Him with other things. For instance, it’s easy to put a premium on who we read in the Christian world, what podcasts we listen to, whether we do or don’t do certain health “things”, what we eat, how we exercise, where our kids go to school and we perhaps put less emphasis on whether we have read our Bibles through enough to know the narrative of the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and how we make real-world application to Jesus restoring all things back under his sovereign rule. We call this “hearing and obeying”. If I do all the “Christian” health stuff, but don’t know God’s Word, I’m off base. 

Living on mission is not a mystery. Living on mission is not doing all the “Christianized” activities associated with a Christian subculture. It’s an issue of obedience, and it starts with knowing God’s Word and doing what it says. 

When we begin to intake God’s Word, we will begin to question some of our practices and adjust them as necessary to get the maximum effect from our time. 

In order to live on mission where we are, we ask a very important question at Three Rivers Church. That question is: What if the whole church was the missionary?

We don’t believe it’s the job of some special forces Christians to be the stars of the Kingdom of God in the local church or on the mission field while the rest of us get a report now and again and pray Jesus doesn’t call us to south Rome or to a hard place around the world. In fact, the Bible gives no indication that Jesus left any of us an opt-out to his mission. We are all called to disciple the nations as the local church beginning from where we are located. Jesus gave the Great Commission to the whole church, not just a select few. 

What if the Great Commission began to look like every Christian, everywhere, all the time? 

The question for us is how we execute the command as a church and as covenant members of a local church. This is a complete framework shift in how to view your church and even your own life.

Your church has to decide what it’s going to do with the Great Commission collectively, but you can begin with what we call “4 Key Shifts”. 

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Shift 1: Shift from needs to assets.

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This shift is one that changes how we see our personnel. 

This is not an organizational change in processes, rather this is a shift in how we see each other as covenant members of the local church on Jesus’ mission.

We move from asking what we need to start evaluating assets to be given away in serving our individual and collective domains (vocational fields).

We move from asking: “what did you get out of the service today?” to “how can I engage my vocation with the Gospel of the Kingdom?” 

Side note: Did you know the root of the word “vocation” is “voca”…calling? Did you ever think that your created skillset is your calling because King Jesus created you like that on purpose? (See Psalm 139)

Did you know there are no closed opportunities to vocational professionals either local or global? If you have a vocational skill set, you can serve or work almost anywhere with approval and welcome and not having to hide who you are and what you believe. What if every Christian began to think less of what they want and more about what they have to give away and where they can apply their vocational skills?

Do you know your skillset and gifting? Those are learned on the job and in fellowship with each other. 

Do you have a relationship with your city and nation in order to discover the opportunities to serve or employ your vocation? 

Do you know how to do Acts 17 where you live? Paul was comfortable in the public square of Athens as recorded in Acts 17 because he was well acquainted with the pluralistic nature of the public square due to being a business professional in it. 

Acts 18:3 gives us a glimpse into Paul, Aquila and Priscilla’s vocational business. They were tentmakers by trade!

Paul did not seem to view his vocation as a hindrance to ministry, rather it seems his vocation made him comfortable in the public square. In fact, the church seems to know nothing but operating in public. They had not yet gained access to places of worship other than their homes, so they had no option but to use their vocational assets to operate well in public and make disciples. 

What can you do with this shift right now?

  1. Don’t view your vocation as a hindrance, rather see it as your access to the public square as a value provider. 
  2. Be quick to talk about Jesus. There is no holding back from the church in Acts when it came to Jesus. They got to the point in a hurry. Don’t cover up who you are. As a value provider to your city, you have earned the right to talk about your “why”. Don’t hold back. By all means, be wise and contextual, but don’t take too long to get to Jesus. 
  3. Find out what your city needs, and do it! This application will show up when we talk about shift # 3, but for now, know your city has needs, and when you make an effort to meet those needs, there is no barrier to church/state relationships. We have reign to talk all we want about Jesus while working inside of / with / for the state of Georgia due to the value we bring to the city, county, and state. 

Example from Rome, GA

In making an application of this shift, we have been able to become the “go-to” organization for foster care and adoption in Northwest Georgia through our other non-profit, Global Impact and our work through Global Impact called “Restoration Rome”. God has given us access to our city, our state and even opened opportunities around the world to bear public witness to Jesus via government approval. 

Who made Restoration Rome happen? Not ministry professionals. It was/is vocational professionals shifting from asking about what they could get from a worship service to asking how they can employ their vocations for Jesus’ fame.

Want to read the other articles in this series? Check them out below.

Living on Mission Where You Are:

  1. Shift from needs to assets.
  2. Shift from programs to domain engagement.
  3. Shift from working for the city to working with the city.
  4. Shift from managing projects to leading members.

Mitch Jolly is the pastor of Three Rivers Church in Rome, Ga, and an excellent partner of Snowbird. He loves preaching, teaching, engaging people of other faiths with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. He and his wife, Jennifer, have been married since 1999, and they have three sons: Gabriel, John Mark, and Daniel.

December 3, 2019

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