I’m pastor of North Pointe Church, a mid-sized church in the far northwest corner of Oklahoma County, averaging around 240 in worship.
We’ve had our ups and downs, and I’ve made my fair share of mess-ups in ministry. There’s nothing special about me, apart from the saving work of Christ and His call upon my life. I’m like other pastors who come from small to mid-sized churches, I’ve been burned out, hurt, tired and frustrated with people and problems. But for every bad experience, there have been 20 or 30 more good experiences. Ministry for me has been great!
I’m giving you a couple of paragraphs about me, because what you are about to read is not a promotional piece for PowerUP Your World. It’s an honest evaluation about the state of the church, where I think we are, and how PowerUP Your World has positively affected me, my family and our church.
When I was asked to consider piloting PowerUP Your World, I saw it as another program. I knew very little about PowerUP. I vaguely remember receiving PowerUP promotional material, but it was discarded, as is most promotional material in a pastor’s mailbox.
PowerUP Your World is an eight-week strategy designed to encourage your church family to become a missional Acts 1:8 church. The premise is to involve everyone in missions, from preschoolers through senior adults.
One of the greatest challenges pastors face is the call to make missional-disciples. Simply put, a disciple is someone willing to go, be and do the work of a disciple. A missional-disciple is someone who has committed not only their heart, soul and life to Jesus, but also their heart, soul and life to the mission of Jesus!
We’ve got plenty of people filling our pews each week who claim to have committed their hearts and lives to Jesus, but their commitment to His work and mission is nominal, and for many, non-existent.
Being “on mission” for some, is teaching an adult class, serving in the nursery once a month or singing in the choir on Sunday mornings. For others, being “on mission” is giving their money to a para-church ministry to aide, relieve and/or evangelize the world. For many Southern Baptists, it’s a Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong or Edna McMillan video that tugs at our purse strings to release a few measly coins to advance the cause of missions.
In many churches, there are a few people willing to take an actual “mission trip.” As the few go, the rest stay home as encouragers, making verbal commitments to support and pray for them on their mission. We will even attend a Sunday night service to get a taste of what being on mission is like through their “mission experience.”
Most have never experienced a mission trip, let alone consistently lived a life on mission. Most of us would have to classify ourselves as non-missional. We’ve pondered that gnawing question, “What am I personally doing to be on mission?”
So, how has PowerUP Your World influenced me as a pastor?
Ministry had become a drudgery of sermon preparation and grandiose ideas on how to grow God’s church. I had dreams of building a bigger and better church, and in my pursuit, my passion for reaching lost people slowly began to die.
We’ve seen people saved, and not just children. And I’m real good about doing the things people have come to expect from me as a pastor.
But somewhere, I lost my vision for living a life committed to the mission of Jesus. I found myself pampering people to hang on to the handful of disgruntled “churched-families” we were losing.
Since PowerUP Your World, I look at missions and outreach in a different light. Today, there is a corkboard in my office with the three “P’s” of PowerUP: Pursue, Present and Partner. That means Pursuing Christ as Lord, Presenting Christ as Savior and Partnering to Share Christ with the world.
Those three words are my new life-challenge. Every day as I walk into my office, I’m reminded that’s my mission for the day, the week, the month, the next year, the next 10 years! I haven’t got it all figured out, but that’s the direction I’m headed. That board will remain on my wall as long as I’m in ministry. My new life mission is to daily pursue Christ as Lord, to present Him as Savior and to partner with my family and church family in sharing Him with the world, beginning in my own backyard.
How has PowerUP Influenced our church?
For the first time, we had every class involved in a mission project, all at the same time. Bible Fellowship teachers and class members walked away with a new perspective on missions. Doctors, housewives, school teachers, principals, iron workers, high school students and preschoolers, all touched, tasted and experienced in a small, but profound, way what members of an average-size church could do when they committed their hearts, minds, souls and lives to being on mission. The impact has been profound.
How is PowerUP Your World Different From Other Outreach Ideas?
PowerUP is not another “outreach” idea. We’ve had lots of great outreach ideas introduced to us. Most outreach ideas, although well intended, end up being a wave we ride out until we finally hit the sand. PowerUP becomes, not a wave to be ridden, but a missional-life to be lived.
Whether you do Sunday School or small groups, PowerUP Your World is a church-wide, hands-on mission effort that a church of any size can implement, from preschool through adult departments. Download some of the material and look for ways to push missions into your Sunday School classes and small groups. This gives everyone in your church the opportunity to be a true disciple.
Matthew 25 says those of us who are believers will be judged for our works-what we have done with our lives. The basis for that judgment will be: How have you treated those who needed you, who didn’t have what you have, who are poor, lonely, sick and without any hope?
Your mission field includes those people! You don’t have to look far, you don’t have to go overseas; all you have to do is cross the street! Reaching those people ought to be at the heart of your mission! It’s in and through what Christ has done for us on the cross that brings Power to the world. What are you doing daily to PowerUP Your World?