Partnering with Jesus
Jesus doesn’t want his followers to merely be attenders of church services.
His intent is to create a family, where common life is shared and mutual trust is cultivated. Moreover, he wants us to join him as partners in his mission.
As partners, we have been given the very same mission that the Father gave Jesus - not another mission. Our mandate simply is to proclaim and to demonstrate his kingdom in his name, and to make disciples.
However, as long as all that our leaders expect from us is attendance and tithing, we will never fulfil this glorious calling. And as long as Sunday worship services and programmes are the church’s primary concern, we will never have time and energy to spend on Jesus' primary concern, that is, on making disciples.
Even worse, in larger churches attenders easily get the impression that they wouldn’t really be missed. Once they start feeling this way, their passion will slowly diminish, and with it their attendance. They know the show will go on even without them.
Jesus never meant it to be like this.
He meant his disciples to be powerful tools in his hands. This requires us to reject the attendance and receiver model in church practice. Further, we must abandon any positional and institutional way of thinking. This would also include demolishing the wall between “clergy” and “laity”, between the more and the less spiritual, the professionals and the hobby workers.
We must persevere to see the church as a family, a community on mission with every disciple as an authorised and equipped agent of God’s kingdom.
In this kind of missional community, disciples are connected with each other by the Lord, by his indwelling Spirit and by their common cause, to reach every man and woman on this planet with the good news of his kingdom in their generation.
In churches like this, disciples knit their hearts together, share life and meals, and testify Jesus as the risen Lord. They create a safe and at the same time challenging environment for sharing God’s love.
Their unity is not made up by human loyalty or any kind of declaration or uniformity, but established through Jesus' redemptive power and their deep sense of depending on him and on each other. They stay faithful in that communion, because they know that the outcome of their lives depends on it.
Partners with Jesus know their mandate and their mission, and they form their lives accordingly. This, I believe, is the Jesus way of being his disciples and being his church.