Good afternoon Branch Family!
I just received the best email. It turns out I’m not the only one having inconvenient encounters that are divine appointments (see last week’s post/email). I just received an email from a Branch family member. She was sharing how she was serving in the community recently and the conversations ensued that have opened the door to a great ministry opportunity. It’s not comfortable for her, but she’s walking through this open door.
This opportunity came as she was out in the world showing Jesus’ love. In some of the nerdy missiology books, they call this centrifugal mission. It’s ministry that happens outside of the church gathering and in the wider world. The church is sent out to make disciples in this context. The Great Commission is one example of this “going” style of mission:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28.19-20
This is why we started the Branch to begin with – to “go” to Los Alamitos so people would find their hope in Jesus above all else. This is the heart of God’s mission to the world – go out there and show and tell Jesus’ love.
But there’s also another trajectory to mission – centripetal. This is the idea that Jesus teaches about in the Sermon on the Mount and at the Last Supper:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5.14
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. – John 13.35
This is more or less what the Jewish mission was. Live out God’s blessing and anticipate the nations being drawn to worship God as they see the wisdom of living His way through the life of His people. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out so God sent Jesus.
It’s easy to pit these two trajectories against each other. It’s hard not to. But while we should have a bias towards “being out there,” God has called us to be a community on mission that loves each other and builds into each other and that is attractive to those around us because we love God and love each other.
Each Sunday we gather at the Community Center and there are people at the park or going to play soccer. Sure, parking can be a hassle, but are we taking advantage of opportunities to love and bless people who are coming to our doorstep and even beyond (if they need to use the bathroom!) to show them Jesus’ love? May we grow and embrace this centripetal trajectory of ministry, to bless those who are coming to us.
And we also need to get out there (centrifugal) and point people to Jesus as we prayer walk and hand out fliers, or as we serve in the community. Our God is a missionary God. He’s on the move looking for people who want to be in His family. And He uses us to point them to Him.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited as God has opened doors for me to point others to Him, personally, and to hear how He’s opening great opportunities for dialogue and service among so many at the Branch as well.
Keep your eyes open. God’s at work all around us!
- We’ll be doing baby dedications on Mother’s Day this year – May 10. So if you want to dedicate your child (which is really a dedication of yourself as a parent to raise the child in the Lord), let me know by this Sunday!