In the last few posts I discussed the five purposes of small groups at High Point church. Our vision for small groups is for them to be Christ centered, transformational communities. The five purposes and practices of small groups are designed to build these communities.
In this post I want to discuss purpose #4: Supporting Mission.
This may seem like a strange purpose of small groups. The church has a missions team and a missions budget. Our missionaries are decently well taken care of. And we hear about missions in church at least a few Sundays a year.
All that is true. But it turns out the world is completely forgettable to us and completely unforgettable to God. This is a crossing of purposes we can’t afford to ignore.
The mission Christ gave his church has local application in churches – but it is an international and global commission.
“Go” he said, “and make disciples of all nations.”
And yet, human beings can almost never see more than half a mile. We hardly think of people we haven’t interacted with in the last week and we have a hard time conceiving of anything we haven’t done. Space and time work against us.
The mission is not meant just to make the church bigger – but to make US bigger.
We are infinitely small creatures – not just in the stature of our body but in the expansiveness of our soul. And in our smallness grows our self-centeredness, and in that, our desire for self salvation. When God makes us remember the world, He makes us remember Him. He makes us remember that we are small and that he set the agenda for reality. It is so good for us to remember it is not only our good that he seeks. It makes us bigger. It makes us more like Jesus.
Remembering mission puts our daily lives in perspective.
Should we get a new car or used car? How much should we spend on clothes this month? Where should we go on this date? Should little Sarah be doing piano lessons and gymnastics? How long can I be expected to cook on this electric range when most of my friends have gas stoves?
Not all of these questions have obvious answers. But all of their answers can benefit from perspective. Contrary to the voices of some financial planners, our budget is in perspective enough. What does our budget really serve? What does our calendar really serve? What is the real goal of our lives? Is it the redemption & reconciliation of the world? Or is it to have nice safe little lives with sunny vacations?
It’s good for us to remember that the world waits for the gospel and the translated Bible. It’s good for us to live in light of the work we have left to do – for the glory of Christ and the good of all people. And the more we remember our mission over there, the bolder we may be to engage in our mission here.
It may be the greatest achievement of your life.
What will you remember forever about your life? Honestly, I’m not just trying to be annoying. If you believe in Christ, you should believe in his promise of heaven. 10,000 years into eternity, what will be the thing you remember from the span of your life? What will produce results that you will enjoy forever? I believe it will be this: some of us who lived in the richest empire in the history of the world will marshal some of our wealth to see that the gospel is brought to people without it or who haven’t yet believed it.
What friends will you share sweet fellowship with forever that you will never meet in this earthly life? What temporal and eternal miseries will be relieved by the goods you could’ve spent on hamburgers and sweaters?
This perspective isn’t meant to make us slavish accountants of all we have. But it is meant to make us mindful managers of what God has entrusted to us. To be able to enjoy a portion, but disciplined also to give a designated portion. Both can be seen in the verses below.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
See the overview video here.