Vision 2012-Reach

August 27, 2012 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership, Teaching

For the last 9+ months we have had an amazing, precious, beautiful baby in our home.  Our world turned upside-down but in the best possible way.  In another month and a half or so, we will have the awesome privilege of being able to adopt her and make legal what has always been true in our hearts.  She will become a part of our family.

During this time, we have had what I will call a “baby-focused” home.  The focus for the other four of us has been the baby. She has far and away gotten the most attention, the most praise and the most care.  We have all adapted our schedule and priorities to fit hers.

A couple of further insights:

1) Do we do this because we love her more? I do not believe that any of the four of the rest of us would say that we love her more or even that we feel that other family members love her more than they love us.  It is not a question of love, but of priority.  She gets the most attention, because she is the most vulnerable. Part of me wants to explain that further. Another part of me doesn’t want to insult you. She is more vulnerable because she is a baby. She can’t do for herself.

2) At no point during our time of baby-focus did Heidi or I ever forget our other daughters’ names.  They never missed a meal and they knew that they were loved and cared for. That may sound ridiculous, but it’s important to the point (Yes, a point is coming). While we were giving focus to the baby, we made sure that our older girls were loved and well taken care of.  Certainly they didn’t get as much attention as they used to get or could possibly get, but they never once were neglected, but instead were deeply loved and cared for.

3) In addition, they never complained that their parents had diverted much of their attention to the baby.  Why is that? Because we were united in our baby-focus. We believed together that this is what God had called us to. We were too busy loving on the baby to be self-focused.  We were too busy following God’s new plan for our family to really notice or complain about the changes.  Also, the trade-off was worth it, because the baby is amazing.

We at The Grove Church strive to have an outward-focus. We want to focus our attention on people who are far from God.

Why?  (See point 1 above) They are the most vulnerable. What is at stake for them is much more serious than those who are walking closely with God.

Does this mean we do not want the believers in our church to be loved and cared for and to grow? No (Point 2), we still must and will care for each other. We will just do so with much of our focus on those outside.

Hopefully, we will then be a church (Point 3) that is so united in our desire to see people locally and around the world find faith in God, it would never cross our minds to wonder if something could be “better for us.”  Too often churches get into a battle over whether or not church is “for believers” or “for lost people.”  As I seem to say a lot about issues Christians fight about, that’s a false choice.  The church is a group of believers commissioned (Matt. 28:18-20) by God to reach the lost.

Of course, God is calling us to help each other grow (see next week). There are many great reasons why we need to and why the church must make sure that happens. As with many things, it is a question of balance. Ask yourself this question, “Am I balanced in the attention I give toward meeting my own needs versus others’ needs? My needs versus people who are from God?” I would imagine that most of us would admit that we give plenty of attention to ourselves.  The same is true for churches. I believe that we have to talk even more about reaching people because our natural tendency is toward an inward focus.

Our mission is described by 4 words–worship, reach, grow and send.  All are important, but we need to be absolutely clear on the commission that God has given us to reach people who are far from him.

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