— Jim Morris
Most organizations have developed what is called a “Mission Statement.” This statement provides clarity of purpose that should govern all their activities. It is less often that we see these entities declare “How” they are going to accomplish their mission. Their method is often obscure and ill defined. Even more rare is the explanation of “Why” they are doing what they are doing. Their motive is rarely seen on their logo and is often poorly understood.
When Jim organized the Kansas Navigator Ministry he wanted our mission, method and motive to be clearly understood. Not only were we to understand “what” to do, we were to know “how” to do it, and “why” we were doing it. To solidify our understanding, three verses were chosen to delineate each of these words. The mission is found in Matthew 28:18-20. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ ” The method is in II Timothy 2:1-2. “ You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” The motive is located in II Corinthians 5:14. (Wuest Translation) “For the love which Christ has for me presses on me from all sides, holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other, wrapping itself around me in tenderness, giving me an impelling motive.”
The mission we are given by our Lord is that of making disciples. We are grateful when we see people respond to the Holy Spirit’s work and transfer their trust to Christ Jesus to make them at peace with God. But are we satisfied? No! We also desire that they have an active participation with the body of Christ and regularly participate in church attendance and worship. Are we satisfied with that step? No! What if they contribute financially to ministries, sing in the choir and serve on committees? All these are good, but are these the goals defined in Matthew 28:18-20? The Lord had much to say about discipleship. In Luke 9:23 He related the following. “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” It is the inward decision to reject self, the outward enthroning of Christ, manifesting continued trust and obedience that characterizes a disciple. Our Lord further states that His disciple’s lives are to be governed by His word. In John 8:31-32 we read the following. “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.‘ “ Their lives, further, are not only to be governed by His word, but to be a manifestation of His love. John 13:34-35 tells us. “A new command I give you: Love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Our lives, then, need to interact with others in such a way that they are transformed by His word and His love. Only then can we be assured that we have been true to our mission.
Followers of God are always one generation away from extinction. This is why the Israelites were told in Deuteronomy 6:6-7. “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Sadly, they were not faithful in what God had asked them to do for we read the following in Judges 2:10. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” This passage is a reminder that our work is not finished when someone becomes a disciple. We must disciple them in such a way that they are able to disciple others who in turn disciple others as well. This is the method described in II Timothy 2:2. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” This method of discipleship addresses not only the needs of the individual with whom we meet, it also seeks to prepare them for those that they will disciple in the future. It contains a vision that sees an entire family, a neighborhood, or a workplace coming to Christ and being discipled as a result of our work with one individual. It embraces the thought that although one is able to count all the seeds in an apple, they will never be able to count the number of apples in one seed! This method requires much prayer, personal time, partnership with others and perseverance.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, admonishes them in his prayer “that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” (KJV) Here we are instructed to comprehend the incomprehensible–to know the unknowable. It is in the journey of learning to know His love for us that we begin to experience II Corinthians 5:14 in our lives. It presses on us from all sides, holding us to one end, and prohibiting us from considering any other, wrapping around us in tenderness and giving us an impelling motive. This motive, then, does not begin with our love for HIm. It begins with His love for us! It is His love, poured out in our hears (Romans 5:5) that presses upon us, wraps around us and impels us. His love has no limit. His love is not discouraged. His love does not cease. His love does not vary from individual to individual. His love accomplishes all that He desires to do. This love does not look at self, it looks at Christ. It finds its adequacy in Him, not in ourselves.
In our life we will encounter many mission statements, and a variety of methods and motives. It is my prayer that the mission, method and motive given to us by the Lord will so captivate your heart and mind that they will become your mission, your method and motive as well.
In Christ, Richard Spann