On November 6, I will lead our 4th team from theROCK church to Nicaragua. This will be my 7th trip to the country and one I look forward to with great anticipation. The question always arises nearing my departure to another country, “Why? I don’t get why you have to go somewhere else when there’s plenty of needs right here?” It’s a valid question, until you understand the vision of our church and the personal mission that consumes me.
theROCK’s vision is not any different from any church trying to be a church designed after the model given to us in the Book of Acts. Sadly though, when actually applied it feels peculiar and not normal. We are simply a group of people who believe our calling to our community and this world is to “serve people where they are, so they can experience life in Christ”. Every phrase has major significance for us.
SERVE PEOPLE- Not Bible thump, not condemn, not judge, not preach at, not annoy, not scold, but simply SERVE people. It’s such a simple concept, yet not readily or easily applied. Here locally we apply this by serving people through our Sunday experiences by providing snacks and coffee and drinks when people walk in. We serve people by providing quality environments for kids to be taught, loved on, and served by our kidsROCK volunteers. We serve people by getting to the facility early and praying for each individual before they come and serve them by greeting them with a smile and even a hug. We serve people by providing quality uplifting music that engages and encourages each individual every Sunday morning. We serve people by taking serious the preaching and teaching of the gospel and the Word of God. We present relevant and applicable teaching to answer the questions of today in a world that seems so dark. We serve people every week but we don’t want it to end there. Serving people must become more than just through a church experience, we want our people to serve people every day in their own context. It’s so different. It’s so… Jesus.
WHERE THEY ARE- The word “where” is so key that we decided to italicize it. Where has become the why. Where gives us the context of who and how. Where represents EVERYONE. Where represents every background, doubt, religion, hurt, nationality, question, fear, etc… We desire to serve people right where they are. Whether they’re far from God or been walking with Him for thirty years. Whether they live right next door to us or live in a country thousands of miles away. We desire to get OUTSIDE of our doors or our prejudices or our judgements and just serve people where ever they are. WHY?
SO THEY CAN EXPERIENCE LIFE IN CHRIST- We believe that everyone’s life would be BETTER if Jesus were at the center. Therefore, we don’t serve people just to serve people. We don’t meet people where they are to make ourselves look good. We serve people because we want the BEST, which is JESUS, for EVERY ONE. Not just people in our city, but I mean EVERY ONE in our entire WORLD.
That statement pushes me. It engages me. It keeps me going. It keeps me focused when I lose my way. I have a deep desire to see this vision statement become real in my city but I also have a very strong desire to see it become real all over the world. One day, my desire is to personally step foot on every continent of this world that God created. One day, I and the church God called me to plant, WILL serve people in every context of this world and have influence in them experiencing what life in Christ is really all about.
It still may lead to the question of “but why? Why the world?”. Here are 3 reasons why I go to the world…
1) GOD TELLS US TO GO…
Truthfully this is the only reason that I need to go. Several times Jesus tells us GO… and not just go but go to ALL of the nations.
“Go make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
The statistics are horrifying. Today there are still over 650,000 people groups who have NEVER and have NO CURRENT OPPORTUNITY to hear the gospel of Jesus at all! For those who live in America, we have absolutely no concept of what that really means. And how ARROGANT and SELFISH can you be, to not even CARE? We don’t want to be reminded of it, do we? By the way this equals over 2 BILLION, BILLION with a B, individuals who have no access to the Bible or hearing about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Two BILLION PEOPLE who if they die today, will spend eternity in hell, because WE were too ARROGANT to go. God’s plan A, B, C, Z for the world to hear the gospel is through the local church and followers of Him taking His gospel to every group. That includes you and that includes me.
2) GOD’S BLESSED US TO GO…
The United States of America is the most blessed nation in the history of the world. We have experienced more wealth, more freedom, more believers, more churches than any nation that has ever been born. However, today we are not even the leading nation in sending missionaries to the world. South Korea with 258 MILLION less people are now sending more followers of Jesus into the world to share the gospel. That is amazing. Have you ever considered that God did not bless this nation, just for us to get fat and happy, but He blessed the nation to reach the 2 BILLION with no access to the gospel? Sadly, that thought doesn’t resonate with the masses. God has blessed my family with 2 cars, a house, even a house for our cars (garage) and so when given an opportunity why would I not want to go bless someone else? He’s blessed us, to be a blessing.
3) GOD LET’S US GO…
Once again I must use the word ARROGANT… How ARROGANT of me to ever think that God is lucky to have ME go and share the gospel in another context. God doesn’t need me. God doesn’t NEED you to fulfill His plan. The amazing thing about our God is that He WANTS to use you and me. He LOVES us SO MUCH that instead of just doing some supernatural work Himself, He wants us to experience His supernatural plan to reach the world. How in the world can we pass up an opportunity to see God do the ULTIMATE MIRACLE all over the world by redeeming, restoring, regenerating NEW LIFE all over the globe.
Let me just say if you have never experienced the opportunity of sharing the amazing news of the gospel to someone who has NEVER seen a bible or heard of the creator or the name of Jesus, you are missing out on what I believe is the most exhilarating experience outside of your own salvation. To have the opportunity to be the vehicle that God uses to show someone that He has not forgotten them and that He loves them so much that He would send someone thousands of miles to reveal Himself to them. It’s unexplainable.
Would you pray for our team as we go? I want to thank every financial and prayer partner that has made this trip possible for this 7 member team. Your gifts and your prayers are the reason we are able to go; therefore, you too are a part of this team. I want to thank theROCK church for continuing to serve people where they are so they can experience life in Christ here in Kingsport, while we’re away. And if we ever lose sight of this in any way, and begin to think it’s all about us, we might as well close our doors and do something else. Let’s go…