EDITORIAL: A compelling mission
In 1949, the book The 100 Greatest Advertisements by Julian Lewis Watkins rated the following ad as the greatest advertisement of all time. “Wanted. Men for hazardous journey. Low wages. Bitter cold. Long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in the event of success. Ernest Shackleton 4 Burlington Street London”
Shackleton reported 5,000 men and three women responded to the opportunity to become the first expedition ever to discover the South Pole. Why would people risk their very lives for this accomplishment? Because there is something about a compelling mission, a great adventure, a moment in time that will stand for eternity that sparks the human soul to do something extraordinary.
Christianity is the most God-sized movement of all time. It is bigger than any polar exploration, greater than a lunar landing, more awesome than the view from Mt. Everest and more powerful than a volcano. Man split the atom: at the cross, God split time. In reality, Christianity is the greatest rescue mission of all time.
The crucial element lacking in our churches, and yes . . . even our Sunday School classes and small groups is the realization that Christianity is a universal rescue effort. Colossians 1:13 states, “He (God) has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son.” Every individual and group that calls Christ Lord is part of God’s mission to rescue the souls of men and women, boys and girls from a Christ-less eternity.
Many people feel like they do not have much input in the direction of their church, much less their denomination. But there is one group of people where anyone who attends regularly does have considerable influence. Your small group Bible study. So how is the movement going in your small group or class? Does your Bible study feel like it is part of a movement that is changing the world for all eternity?
We need to recognize the church’s mission and the mission of a Sunday School class or small group are identical. The church’s mission has not changed in 2,000 years. “Go, and make disciples . . .” Your small group Bible study is simply the church organizing itself to accomplish the Great Commission. Masses of people are difficult to manage. The U.S. Army is a massive collection of men and women, but they organize themselves in small groups called squads to carry out their mission of protecting our country. Your church’s small group Bible study is how the local church organizes to accomplish her purpose. If you want to be part of God’s mission, you need to belong to a group of people who know their mission and are organized to complete it.
A turning point for many people is when we understand that Christianity is about a relationship and a movement, and not a technique or a program. Movements start small, often with just one person or a small group who are committed to a cause. For this reason, your Bible study class can be the beginning of a movement of God in your local church and community. One class that has committed itself to join God and His mission is a powerful force for change in a church. There is nothing more repelling than a small group of people who are completely self-absorbed. On the other hand, there is nothing more compelling than a group of people who are on a mission from God. Deep down, most of us want to be part of something that is changing our planet. You can join Greenpeace and save a whale. You can join God and save a soul. It is a compelling vision, and it has eternal rewards. But it does not come without sacrifice.
Wanted: Men and women for a dangerous assignment. Hard work. Long hours and frequent rejection. Teamwork and sacrifice required. A heart for lost souls essential. Eternal rewards.
To apply: Read your Bible. Accept your assignment. Make disciples.