Developing a Biblical Mission, Part 12 (Strategic Christian Leadership #79)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 79. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is 1 Corinthians 12:12 which says, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Our quote for this episode is from Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson.

Our topic today is part 12 of “Chapter 4: Developing a Biblical Mission: What We Are Supposed to be Doing” from “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs. He continues as follows:

3. CLARIFY AND SIMPLIFY YOUR MISSION

How do you clarify and simplify your mission? Ask and answer the following questions.

What words communicate best with your target group? Mission drafters must be wordsmiths. Their job is to think and rethink, shape and reshape, draft and redraft the statement. They do this with meaningful words. Think about the words that will best communicate with your congregation. Are the people more traditional, contemporary, or a combination? Will older clichés communicate best or fresh, contemporary terms? Also take into account the part of the country you live in. What terms are native to this locale and would communicate well to these people? Note the following statement as an example:

Our mission is to colonize the greater commonwealth of Northwest Boston with the gospel of Christ so that it may be liberated from the rule of darkness and adopt a new spiritual constitution that passionately embraces the revolutionary teachings of Jesus Christ.

This statement could serve the people in and around Boston and other parts of New England. It is regional, however, and would not fit or communicate well in other parts of North America. In addition, it is far too long.

Do people understand what you have written? How well do the words that you have selected communicate? Do people understand them? Do they know what you are saying? Be sure to avoid unfamiliar biblical terms such as glorify, holy, kingdom, disciple, and others. These terms represent what I refer to as christianese or temple talk. Some will understand them, most won’t. Some have asked, If the mission statement is the Great Commission, then why not just quote Matthew 28:19–20; Mark 16:15; or Acts 1:8? You could, but many parishioners will not understand the terminology used in the New Testament. These words are not clear to them. For example, the term disciple that Jesus uses in Matthew 28:19 may seem ambiguous. What is a disciple? Is making disciples a reference to evangelism only or sanctification or both? Even the average seminarian struggles to answer this question. Willow Creek Community Church has done an excellent job of mission clarity by including their definition of a disciple in their statement: “Our mission is to turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Christ.” However, do not be surprised if you have to explain this statement as well.

Therefore I encourage mission crafters to personalize the Great Commission so that it is clear to their particular congregation. We did this in the mission of my last church:

The mission of Northwood Community Church is to be used of God in helping people become fully functioning followers of Christ.

The words “used of God” imply we could not do it alone. God is the one who makes disciples. And the words “in helping people” mean that we would not take all the responsibility ourselves. We could only aid people—they must assume individual responsibility for the process. We substituted “fully functioning followers” in place of “disciple.” Because our people understood these words, we had clearly defined for all what we meant by the term disciple. We were making it clear that a disciple is a Christ-follower, not a follower of Allah or Buddha, and that a disciple is a functioning follower of Christ. That means that he or she is authentically involved in the five functions of the church: worship, fellowship or community, biblical instruction, evangelism, and ministry or service as opposed to being parked somewhere on the sidelines. Finally, that involvement is a full or deep involvement. Christ-followers are not just busy but have made deep commitments of their lives to the Savior. I also believe that repeating the Fs (fully functioning followers) is catchy and memorable.

— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.

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