Starting off a new season of blog posts as a Lenten practice with friends is a big undertaking. One post a day. 47 days. Cue the proverbial gasp. We did it 2 years ago and we are all in for another round of community building, growth with Jesus and throwing it all out into the universe. To start…I’ve decided to let my missiology geek flag fly high and proud.
“The South African missiologist David Bosch wrote, ‘Mission is more and different from recruitment to our brand of religion; it is the alerting of people to the universal reign of God through Christ.’ In other words, mission derives from the reign of God. In that respect, the ideas of mission and Kingdom are irrevocably linked. Mission is both the announcement and the demonstration of the reign of God through Christ. Mission is not primarily concerned with church growth. It is primarily concerned with the reign and rule of the Triune God. If the church grows as a result, so be it.” (Five Habits of Highly Missional People, Michael Frost)
This is one of my favorite quotes on the sovereignty of God, our role and what we are charged with to further God’s Kingdom on earth in the here and now, not the wait until later and heaven is just gonna come variety.
Announcements don’t discriminate on type or a timely arrival. They come before a big event or after the occasion. They are happy. They are sad. They are expectant. They are difficult. But they always are used to inform and guide.
The announcement we are held to proclaim is that God reigns over the entire universe. He sacrificed his son. Holy Spirit is alive and active. His power is not limited and his love is not earned. He is life in a desolate wasteland. He is light in suffocating darkness.
“Jesus refused. ‘First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!'” (MSG Luke 9:60)
As believers we get comfortable and content with where we are at and what we are doing. But realistically, as believers and followers of the God who reigns, we should never find ourselves in a cycle of contentedness or comfort. It’s a dangerous cycle, void of growth and transformation…ours and God’s Kingdom.
As believers we tell ourselves that actions speak louder than words, which I do agree with, however, trustful, honest words are not to be relegated to the massive shadow of action. Honest words come in the midst of a loyal relationship within a community. There we find where true announcement and proclamation of the reign of God fosters transformation.
Words fall on deaf ears if all we do is walk around shouting the truth of God and moving around without investment of self and time. It’s about accepting you are placed and then genuinely loving those around you. If we get stuck believing in only the numbers game of evangelism, we lose the opportunity for real discipleship and real relationships. We miss the real message of God’s reign through Christ. We ignore how Jesus did life with those around him. And quite honestly, you miss out on all the fun to be had while building towards God’s Kingdom on earth…together.
While I was in Russia last November, the relationships God has allowed me to pour into consistently have opened up a myriad of opportunities to announce God in the lives of those that I care deeply about. Abundant opportunities to point to the Storyteller and the Story. In that case, it was the demonstration that led to a deep relationship which in turn led to a honest announcing through the trust and openness that had been built.
“Mission is both the announcement and the demonstration of the reign of God through Christ,” explains Michael Frost.
Announcement cannot exist without demonstration. Demonstration cannot exist without announcement. They are forever entwined as portals to build God’s Kingdom.