How to Stay Balanced
I’ve been sharing how it seems today that many people lack the understanding that the Word and Spirit agree, and that if a teaching or experience isn’t in agreement with both, at the least it needs to be set aside in a ‘wait and see’ response, and in most cases should be rejected outright.
How can we avoid trusting teachings or experiences that are not God? How can we avoid getting side tracked into ‘pet’ doctrines, manipulated by others for emotions or money, and other errors?
And the Answer Is…
The Mission Statement. Surprise! Years ago I taught students and consulted with churches and Bible schools about statements of mission, vision, objectives and goals. (These are 4 separate things)
Without giving a whole syllabus on the subject, let me share that a mission statement by definition is a brief paragraph about a business that will be true of that business even 25 or 50 years down the road.
No matter how big a business becomes, that mission statement will remain at the center of all they do, and all actions, policies, and directions that business takes can be traced directly back to that Mission Statement.
A mission statement constantly reminds employees of why the company exists and what the founders had in mind and the risks they took when they did so.
If a company strays from the Mission Statement they will fail by becoming distracted with other things – they will lose their way. Like washing your feet with your socks on, employees will be able to feel that something just isn’t right. If that company is to survive they must sell off or shut down whatever is not consistent with their Mission Statement, and realign all they do with that Statement.
This is Google’s Mission Statement: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The American Cancer Society’s Mission Statement: “The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.”
McDonald’s Mission Statement: “McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”
This is the Church’s Mission Statement
“Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe and to do whatsoever I’ve commanded you.” (Mt 28:20)
Businesses may not realize they have unknowingly copied spiritual principles in the creation of mission statements, but they have. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, issuing the greatest Mission Statement of all time to the church in the Great Commission.
And just as all things businesses do should be traceable back to their mission statement, so too should anything a church does (house church too) be able to trace any of its activities back to the Mission Statement Jesus gave. (And we as being ‘the church’ individually)
We humans tend to become distracted by things pleasing to the eyes and senses. Ever since Adam & Eve were given a whole garden filled with delectable fruits and vegetables but chose instead to focus on the single fruit that was poison, believers have tended to be similarly drawn aside from our Mission Statement.
A woman came to me asking for prayer at a conference for her husband and teenage children, who weren’t following the Lord closely. In a moment of clarity she admitted she was spending thousands of dollars a year running to this conference and that, looking for the single ‘key’ that would change her family.
Upon reading this you and I can critique her actions and note her running around to meetings was far off the Mission Statement of Jesus for her family. I instantly knew what she needed to do and told her this: “Stop going to all these conferences, and instead spend that time with your family letting Jesus teach you how to be a better wife and mother, while you are being that wife and mother with them.”
You see, that action is consistent with the Mission Statement, which is the making of disciples within the framework of relationships. Let them observe you as you obey all I commanded you!
She is a success story. She emailed me months later to say her whole family was serving God, and that what I told her was very hard on her flesh, for spending time and money on herself was fun. She admitted she had never thought the Lord would ask her to do something so hard on the flesh as stop going to all that which seemed so spiritual and right, and instead do the dull and boring thing of being there with her family.
If I am to align my life according to Jesus’ Mission Statement, then I must ask who am I in relationship with that they may observe to do all that I am doing in Christ?
Ekklesia/Church More Accurately Defined
The word ‘church’ (Greek; ekklesia) has been watered down so much we only get part of its meaning. “Ekklesia” does mean ‘called out’, as you have no doubt heard. Preachers have long told us we are ‘called out’ from the world, ‘called out’ as a special people to God, and so on. But that is only a partial truth.
The meaning of how it was used in Jesus’ day goes back to the Greek city-states. When there were issues all the citizens needed to hear about and discuss, they called an ‘ekklesia’, a calling out of the citizens of the kingdom to conduct the business of the kingdom.
An ekklesia is gathering the citizens of the kingdom to conduct the business of the kingdom.
The business of the kingdom is disciple making. Righteousness in Christ DOES come through believing in Him, but that righteousness is unproven because its of the heart. Therefore a person can say they love Jesus, but that love must be proven within relationships, otherwise their claim is empty.
Back to Balance
When I look around at the conferences, book titles, and Internet subjects related to the body of Christ, I see so much distraction from our Mission Statement.
Whether it be the lady conference runner above who had to redirect her life to align herself with Jesus’ Mission Statement, or someone focused solely on a pet doctrine, or following erroneous teaching, many have been drawn aside to things other than the Mission Statement and the people in our lives required to fulfill that Mission Statement.
“But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” II Corinthians 11:3-4
Some have become distracted away from our Mission Statement, but God is doing a work among many people around the world to re-focus them on Jesus’ Mission Statement and the relationships therein.
And I’ll pick it up here next week. Blessings,