How the U-Turn Is Guided by God’s Mission

uturnChapter three of the U-Turn Church says that “every congregation that wants to make a world-impacting U-Turn needs to put their vision into words that their church members understand.”  Here at Horizon we express the mission of God’s church in four simple ideas: See Jesus, Know Jesus, Serve Jesus, Share Jesus.

Play Ball!

Sometimes it has been helpful for us to picture this mission statement as a baseball diamond.  In the diamond, we see how the mission of God’s church is a progression of growing discipleship.  As we follow God’s mission for the church, we invite people to see Jesus in us.  Once people start to see Jesus, we then invite them to study God’s word and know Jesus more.  Once people start to know Jesus more, we invite them to find ways of using their gifts to serve Jesus in this world.  And once people get into a life of serving Jesus, the final step of discipleship is to share Jesus with others in our community.  This is the biblical mission God has given to the church.

missionIn a baseball game, the only way to score points is to make it all the way around the bases.  Any team that can get players on the first three bases is headed in the right direction.  But the only way to score is to get players all the way around to home plate.  The U-Turn church is about getting ALL of our people around ALL FOUR bases.  Seeing Jesus is a step in the right direction.  Knowing Jesus is a step in the right direction.  Serving Jesus is a step in the right direction.  But the only thing that scores a point in the mission of God’s church is to take that last step of discipleship and share Jesus with other people.  Sharing Jesus with those who are not a part of God’s church has special priority as the most important piece of our mission.

On Earth as it Is in Heaven

How is it that I can make such a bold statement as to label one part of the church’s mission with higher priority than the other three parts?  Why is sharing Jesus higher priority than seeing Jesus, knowing Jesus, and serving Jesus?  Why is sharing Jesus the only part of our mission that scores points?  The answer has to do with the church’s mission for all eternity vs the church’s mission for only right here and right now.

Look at the four statements in Horizon’s mission and consider what parts of this mission we will never stop doing, even after we die, even after Christ returns, even after God makes all things new, even after the resurrection when we all have perfect re-created bodies.  Both here on this earth, and for all eternity, three parts of our mission will continue forever.  Both here on this earth, as well as in heaven, we are children of God called to see Jesus.  And in heaven we will see Jesus perfectly.  Both here on this earth, as well as in heaven, we are children of God called to know Jesus.  And in heaven we will know Jesus perfectly.  Both here on this earth, as well as in heaven, we are children of God called to serve Jesus.  And in heaven we will serve Jesus perfectly.

The first three “bases” of the church’s mission will never end.  We will still see Jesus, know Jesus, and serve Jesus even after the second coming of Christ.

Right Here, Right Now

Sharing Jesus.  I say it is the one part of our mission that has highest priority.  I say it is most important because it is the one part of our mission that Christ gives to the church for this moment in human history.  From the moment Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission (Matthew 28) to the moment when Jesus comes again to make all things new, our mission is to share Jesus with those outside the church.

Sharing Jesus with those outside the church is what scores points.  It is the highest priority of why Horizon exists.  Everything we do to see Jesus, to know Jesus, and to serve Jesus all funnels into one ultimate direction—to share Jesus.

When we go to heaven, we will still see Jesus, know Jesus, and serve Jesus.  But we will no longer share Jesus.  There will no longer be a need.  Jesus will already have been shared with everyone there.  When Jesus comes again and all creation is made new and we are given glorious new resurrection bodies, we will still see Jesus, know Jesus, and serve Jesus.  But we will no longer share Jesus.  There will not be a need.  Jesus will have already been shared with everyone in that glorious re-creation.

So we are left with one mandate for the church which is given especially for us who live here and now.  Sharing Jesus with those outside the church is what scores points.  It is the highest priority of why Horizon exists.  Everything we do to see Jesus, to know Jesus, and to serve Jesus all funnels into one ultimate direction—to share Jesus.

Make A U-Turn

And so the U-Turn moment for Horizon is about a priority to share Jesus with others outside of the church as a part of everything we do.  There are literally thousands of people in the southern Denver metro who have no connection to a church family.  Some of them have been hurt by a church before; some of them have never been to a church before.  All of them are people who need to see Jesus, need to know Jesus, and need to learn to serve Jesus.  And it all begins with someone who is willing to share Jesus with them.

Sharing Jesus as a church means that we make Horizon a place where unchurched people will find both familiarity and friendliness.  Familiarity means the look of the facility and the feel of the worship service (and other ministries) are always inviting for first-time guests.  Friendliness means that we are more than just nice to people, it means we invite people—invite them to worship, invite them to small groups, invite them to 3G’s widows group, invite to the knitting group, invite them to Awana, invite them to youth group.  A church that truly means to share Jesus will be highly invitational in every ministry.

And sharing Jesus means that some of us need to make a personal U-Turn as well.  Some of us have to be honest and admit we cannot even remember the last time we shared Jesus with anyone outside the church.  We may be great at seeing Jesus, knowing Jesus, and serving Jesus…we can get to third base.  But sharing Jesus is the only base that scores points.  God’s greatest U-Turn accomplishment in us will be transforming everyone at Horizon from people who hit triples into people who hit home runs.

till next time…
~pastor tom