Conviction, Strategy, and Reaching Our Judea and Samaria
Well, it’s now mid-February, which means that a large percentage of the new gym members who signed up January 1st have stopped going and are getting ready to cancel their memberships. While this is typically a bit of a joke among gym regulars, I find it a bit sad. Everyone one of those new members signed up for a reason, and it probably had something to do with improving their health. As I’ve considered the reasons why this happens each year, I think they can be lumped into two major categories: a lack of strategy or a lack of conviction. Some people fail to achieve their goals because they’re not sure how to go about implementing healthy changes. The ensuing frustration and lack of progress results in them throwing their hands up in defeat. Others know what they should do, but they really just don’t want to do it. They might say that they do, but when push comes to shove, they are unwilling to make the changes and sacrifices that are necessary for success. When I consider all of this, I see a parallel to church planting.
We’re all aware that the church is called to be part of taking the gospel to new places – both abroad and regionally. Nevertheless, while our Jerusalem seems familiar, and the strategies to reach the Ends of the Earth are easy to articulate, the Judea and Samaria regions can present a challenge. Sometimes this is because we’re just not sure how to go about it. It’s not quite like across-the-street evangelism, and it’s not quite like overseas missions; so what is the strategy? If this describes you or your leadership team right now, I want you to know that you’re not in this alone. Many people have gone before you, and while the Lord will ultimately lead in this effort, we can learn much from those who have walked this road ahead of us. In fact, Lord willing, we hope to roll out some training related to church planting in the RMD later this year to help us do this.
But maybe, if you’re really honest as a leadership team, the lack of movement in this area isn’t as much connected to lack of strategy as it is to lack of conviction. This last year many of us felt like it was a win to simply keep going as a church, and the thought of releasing leaders and givers doesn’t sound appealing. Add to that the additional work associated with being a sending church, and it sounds about as much fun as 100 burpees. If this resonates with you, let me just say that it’s okay. Jesus never intended for you to do this on your own. It’s His church empowered by His Spirit carrying out His plan in His timing. We don’t have to make everything happen, we only have to have the conviction that something must happen. So here is what I would invite you to do: begin to pray that God would plant a deep conviction in you, your leadership team, and your church as a whole that we must be a sending and going people; we must reach our Judea and Samaria. This posture is essential for sustained movement in reaching our Judea and Samaria.
I am praying these kinds of prayers for all of you, and I look forward to being able to gather this year, Lord willing, to talk about resources and strategies to put these convictions into action. Regardless of the size, composition, or history of your church or city, there is something that each church is empowered to contribute to church planting. Stay tuned for more details.
In the meantime, may God impress His kingdom mission more deeply into our souls.