At the Membership Meeting on 9/4 we re-cast the vision of our church. We said that whether you’re a ‘Sailor’ or a ‘Longshoreman’ we need you to help us reach the UIC Area with the gospel! We want to have a common purpose, focusing all of our ‘proactive gospel intentionality’ on our church’s neighborhood. We began the exciting process of collectively brainstorming creative ideas for engaging our neighborhood. This week we want to continue that process.

Each day this week you will receive an email designed to get your missional juices flowing. Prayerfully read through it and ask the Lord to start directing your mind and heart. At the end of the week we will have everyone submit his or her top ideas. Then we will find which ones are the most popular and get people together to start doing them.

At the outset, however, we must make sure our framework is correct. We don’t want to insinuate that you need to do more! We don’t want to impose a kind of evangelism quota. We don’t want people to feel bad or to simply stir up a flurry of activity so we feel good about ourselves. Proclaiming must come after enjoying.

Jack Miller, in his book Outgrowing the Ingrown Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999 [1986]), 143-44, situates us well:

When we teach… people that it is their duty to obey the Great Commission, it may seem that we are only adding another legal obligation to their load of guilt, one that they do not have the will to obey. But when the gospel is understood and received, it not only takes away guilt from a troubled conscience, but also gives perfect assurance of the Father’s unconditional acceptance of each believer as an adopted child. Through faith, this teaching brings release to the encouraged hearer that empowers him or her to walk in love toward others and to be Christ’s witness to the world….

This is the answer to the question, What makes missions and missionaries go? What makes the local church a vital center of missionary enterprise? Constantly hearing of the message of the good news, which overwhelms people with the love of God revealed in Christ, is what does it. This vision of the divine love expressed in John 3:16-17 equips believers to fulfill the missionary imperative stated in Matthew 28:18-20. It is only as God gives us a John 3:16-consciousness that we can understand the Great Commission as the overflow of God’s heart of compassion for the perishing world.

Constantly remembering the manifold goodness of the Good News will keep our sharing of it from becoming a burdensome task. As Hebrews invites us, let’s continue to pay careful attention to this great salvation. This is where we get missionary fire. And if God has saved us, he can save anyone! Let’s see what he’s going to do!!