By Matt Hein
“You are now entering the mission field.”
Have you ever noticed that phrase when you leave St. Luke? It is pasted on the glass in the entry ways that lead to the parking lot. It is as a reminder of where Jesus is sending you with his presence and blessing – into His mission field. It is a reminder of your purpose as a follower of Jesus – to go and make disciples. And it is sits as a constant reminder to join Jesus on his mission.
On the other hand, the letters of that phrase are white and can sometimes get lost in the brightness of the sunshine waiting to greet you. You see it for a moment and then your focus shifts to finding your vehicle. You end up missing it or forgetting it on the walk across the parking lot. It becomes a phrase easily left affixed to a window to be passed by week after week unnoticed.
And, if you do see it and take time to ponder the significance of that phrase, you can still easily lose it for very different reasons. I suspect these reasons are crippling our response to Jesus’ invitation to join him on his mission.
I wonder if that phrase, which is so full of promise and purpose, gets lost as we’re sent from worship because it feels too big for us? Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples of ALL nations.” That can feel overwhelmingly big or just plain impossible for us.
Or perhaps we just don’t know what it looks like to enter the mission field. The phrase can be ambiguous enough that it is difficult to interact with it. What do we do? Where do we start? How do we begin? That can leave you focused on feeling helpless to join in what Jesus is already doing.
I love how John, in the New Testament, records Jesus’ birth.
“The Word was made flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” John 1:14 (The Message)
What if we heard Jesus’ exhortation to disciple the nations as an invitation to join him right where we lived, worked, studied, and played? That doesn’t feel as overwhelmingly big, does it? He’s already active and working there.
What if we looked at how Jesus went into real neighborhoods, homes, and workplaces to bring God’s kingdom activity to real people? Would seeing how he lived missionally leave us feeling less helpless and more equipped to take a next step toward connecting someone we know to Jesus? I think it would
This winter, St. Luke will begin a 6-week journey intended to shift the focus of our eyes and hearts toward a more intentionally missional walk with Jesus. We’ll go from worship, where he promises to be with us in his Word, his Supper, and his promise of forgiveness, into our “neighborhoods” where he is already actively working. At his invitation, covered with his blessing, and with his presence we’ll take next steps in joining Jesus on his mission as we seek his kingdom, hear from Jesus, talk with people, do good to others, and serve others through prayer.
“You are now entering the mission field.” That’s the purposeful phrase you’ll probably look for now as you leave St. Luke. Let me offer a different translation of that phrase to hold onto: “You are now following Jesus into your neighborhood.” I’m looking forward to joining you this January-February as we take a next step together in living missionally with Jesus.
As you get ready for our Joining Jesus on His Mission series, please make sure to pick up and read Rev. Greg Finke’s book, Joining Jesus on His Mission. You may purchase the book for $10 at the St. Luke welcome desk or online as an e-book.