OUR MISSION - Understanding DIVERGENT CHURCH Part 2
There have been some minor updates to this blog but on name - from LIFECITY CHURCH to Divergent Church as a reflection on our name change. This is the second part in a multi series covering the DNA and VISION of Divergent Church.
In the first part we covered our Shape as “ONE Church expressing ourself in multiplying community based and focused Churches” - you can check that out HERE
This post we will cover the MISSION OF DIVERGENT CHURCH. The Mission of Divergent Church never ends, it has no used by date and only the coming of Jesus will bring it to an end.
OUR MISSION is to make...
“ALL IN DISCIPLES DEVOTED TO HIS KINGDOM COME"
Yep, that is a slightly awkward sentence but hear me out and let me take a step backwards into why this is our mission.
When Divergent Church started (as LifeCity Church) our mission statement was “Building a dynamic City Church with Global Reach' but that is no longer our mission in every day.
Why the change you ask?
In short it is because we continued to grow in our understanding of what is actually the biblical mission of the Church. The Biblical mission of the Church is not to build the Church (that is God's task). Our mission is to make disciples (Matt 28:18 – 20). In the contemporary Church we have become fixated with 'building the Church', creating programs, making Sunday experiences more dynamic and excellent, growing crowds month on month and year on year. Churches become fixated nearly solely upon the ABC's of Church growth - Attendance, Buildings, Cash. These measure tells us things but they do not always reflect growth in the kingdom of God itself.
The problem is, as Mike Breen says, “If you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples.”
In Scripture, there are FOUR 'GREATS' I talk about – some of which are common, one or two of which are not.
These give us a foothold, they are not distinct to Divergent Church but they must make up the solid ground of everything we do.
The degree to which the mission can go forward as a community is somewhat limited to the depth and strength of our foundations.
These are our Churches //WHY //WHAT //HOW & //WHERE
These Four GREATS are:
1. THE GREAT COMMANDMENT – PASSION – WHY - (Matthew 22:37 – 40)
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt 22:37 – 40
All consuming LOVE must be our key motivating factor – God loved us first – We love him – We love our neighbours. EVERYTHING hangs on these statements – everything that is important in scripture, everything that is great 'hangs off' our desire for God and people.
Divergent Church is an environment that should call people to nothing less than the absolute adoration and submission of self to Jesus and his mission. That call is often uncomfortable.
WE ARE... 'ALL IN'
2. THE GREAT COMMISSION – MISSION – WHAT - (Matt 28:18 – 20)
“Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:18 – 20
Jesus did not ask us to build the Church, he said he would do that (Matt 16:18), he did, however, tell us to make disciples.
What is a disciple?
In directional terms it is a follower (Matt 4:19)
In relational terms it is a son (Gal 3:29, 1 Cor 4:15).
In regards to our positional terms it is at Jesus feet, a worshipper (John 4:23 – 24).
Everything is for his glory (Col 3:17)
3. THE GREAT EXAMPLE – DEVOTION – HOW - (Acts 2:42 - 47)
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42 – 47
Note a crucial tone in following Jesus throughout the Gospels, it is always inconvenient. When Jesus called people to follow himself, he never made it convenient or comfortable but rather confronting and inconvenient. Convenience has now become a central term in strategic discussions within Church culture, making it 'easy' to get to Church or 'easy' to follow Christ, or 'easy' to learn. Jesus did little of this unless he was directly connecting with unbelievers, even then he quickly raised the challenge to a 'follow me' dynamic. This 'follow me' dynamic of Jesus often contradicts the 'follow up' dynamic that can exist in Churches beyond the reasonable follow up of unbelievers or newer believers. The never ending 'follow up' culture helps create an environment of perpetual immaturity in believers who should be self devoted.
The Church has become a spiritual and social consumer product for a great many Christians. The apparent role in this consumer environment of leadership and 'staff' is to create an environment that entices people to get and stay involved. Such a position is far from the way Jesus operated with those that called themselves believers (John 6:60 – 71). When Jesus called people to follow him, he frequently emphasised cost not comfort. It is true that he met the sinner and broken where they were at but always drew them to follow himself into self sacrifice and devotion (Matt 16:24 – 25).
WE ARE... “DEVOTED”
4. THE GREAT VISION – DIRECTION – WHERE - (Rev 7:9 - 12)
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,who sits on the throne,and to the Lamb.” Rev 7:9 - 10
We continually seek the vision of God for humanity, a righteous, forgiven people from every nation united in Christ alone (Gal 3:28, Rev 7:9). An ethnically diverse Church with a global vision and mandate is central to everything we do.
We understand the reality that in Jesus the Kingdom has come (Matt 3:2, 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 17:20). It is continually being expressed through the love and power of God evident in peoples lives (John 3:3, Matt 12:28, Luke 10:9 ) and it is yet to come in the full and absolute reign of Christ (Luke 11:2, 2 Tim 4:1, 1 Cor 6:9, 10; 15:50, Daniel 7:21-22 )
Jesus Kingdom is not about politics or power but it is the breaking in of Jesus' rule in the life of individuals, families, communities and ultimately the entire world. (John 18:36)
WE SEEK... “HIS KINGDOM COME”
As a Church we are dedicated to the mission of making disciples who make disciples who become the Church in Christ.
Our Mission is to make
"ALL IN DISCIPLES DEVOTED TO HIS KINGDOM COME"