The REAL Gospel is InforMISSIONALWednesday, March 17, 2010
I've had a sudden flash driving along GA Hwy 32 in South Georgia as I'm headed home. I've had to stop at a gas station in some small town. My wife will probably get a little frustrated with me when she see's this appear on my Facebook page and wonder why I've stopped to spend a half hour typing! Here's why, babe!
So far my life and leadership have been rooted primarily in information. Up to about a year ago, I would never have said that information saves me or anyone else. But I sure acted like it. I publicly taught and preached that Jesus saves. But I lived and led as if information saved. How do I know? Look at the spheres into which I poured my life and ministry.
1. Expositional preaching. If I can just get the meaning of the text right and communicate it to people, my life will be changed, and so will those I'm leading. And if I can just preach a book of the bible verse-by-verse, and get the intent of the author right and apply it right with the right words then that will change the people I lead.
These are the things God has rooted my life in. And it seems that the more time and money I poured into getting these things right, the less concerned I was about the mission of world evangelization and church planting. My focus on the inward mutated so that I no longer valued the outward. I valued the outward only with my words, but not with my actions.
I love all of these spheres because they contain biblical truth, I'm convinced. However, here is the one caveat that has left much of my ministry powerless, I believe. Transformation and sanctification happen in the mission, and not in the information.
What I've discovered for the last year…and what just became so suddenly crystal clear for me is that the gospel is good news. That's right! We all already knew that! And what does news do? It is told. It is always being told. It is always moving forward to be told somewhere else by someone else. So the gospel is movement. Gospel-movement is missional, because it's always moving and heading forward toward the day when Jesus returns. In its constant state of moving forward it is sanctifying and transforming people while simultaneously collecting and absorbing more people, all the while transforming while moving forward, and moving forward while transforming.
This makes the gospel informissional. It's information - truth - that is told and taught and preached while moving forward in the mission. The very movement of the mission sanctifies and transforms those who travel with it. This means several things then for the spheres I've poured my life into.
MISSIONAL-Expositional preaching. If I am pursuing verse-by-verse preaching of a text that is focused only in changing people and is not itself being shaped by the mission, then my preaching will become (and has already for several years) become mutated. It is mutated when the focus is on getting the text right more than it is on making it missional enough. The purpose of preaching - expositional or otherwise - is to teach truth that changes us while we are moving forward on the mission.
Oh! I feel so stupid! It's amazing how I (we) can get so focused…so tunnel-visioned on truth that we only see it in parts and not those parts as connected to the whole. I can't preach biblically unless what I preach from the Bible takes on the character of the Bible. And the Bible is missional! I can't counsel biblically unless I counsel people to deny themselves and lose themselves in the real mission God has called them to. That counsel must be missional! I can't see people ministered to in the local church unless ministry turns from its Westernized-inward focus it has within churches in America, to an outward focus which is inherent in the very concept of ministry anyway! And I can't lead me to become qualified for leadership in a local church unless the very understanding of leadership involves the inherent concept of leading people somewhere…like, on the mission!
Things have changed for me tonight. They have changed suddenly. They have changed instantly. They have changed holistically. They have changed biblically. The gospel has finally arisen in my heart in truly biblical and missional terms, not just in informational terms. Discipleship, then, is informissional. It is the impartation of information while on the mission that sanctifies and transforms. The transformation that takes place by the renewing of the mind, talked about in Romans 12:1, is NOT about information. It's about being transformed by my mind understanding the implementation of the mission I read about in Romans 10 and 11, for goodness sake!
It's all about to change.