Five Celebrations of a Missional Community: Part Five
Missional Communities celebrate new life in Christ.
Jesus is life, Jesus created life, and Jesus is re-creating life (see John 1:1-18). Now, as his Spirit works in time and in space, he is awakening people to new life as they hear the voice of the Son of God!
"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live." - John 5:25
Celebrating Christ in the context of meaningful connections whereby we use our time/talent/treasures to cultivate the forward movement of God's kingdom, we will see people people already in Christ change, and those currently apart from faith in Christ be converted.
As Jesus proclaimed the arrival of the kingdom of God, he called people to repentance and faith (Mark 1:14-15). There was a new Sheriff in town, or more acurately the eternal Creator God who made all things and came to re-make his people into new creations.
This is the cultivating work of the Son, through the Spirit, where those dead in sin, but chosen before time began, are given new hearts with new desires. The old goes away, the new comes. Check out Ezekiel 36 where this was prophesied, and 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 where we see it play out in Christ.
As our groups gather for time in the Scriptures, celebrating Christ as a family, we hope that there are people in the room who have yet to repent and believe. And as we study God's Word together, as we look at his supremacy, his sufficiency, and his sovereignty, we hope that these individuals would be awaken to new life.
And when it happens, when people hear the voice of the Son of God, when they hear and believe, they find life. And this new life is amazing as it's such a miraculous and gracious event. The Spirit awakening, faith being exercised for the first time, a sinner becoming a saint, it is something that necessitates celebration!
The hard part is, in our experience in Missional Community, many join us having grown up in the church. They would call themselves Christians, though they have never repented and believed, they have never submitted themselves to Christ, they have not been awakened to new life. In our context, it is harder to see conversion as it happens.
But, because we celebrate change, meaning the fruit of the Spirit being more and more the lifestlye being lived by people in our groups, we can look and see that something has happened! We can be thankful for how the Spirit has been active, and we do not need to know exactly when that started to celebrate. Many people have a hard time articulating the exact moment in which they believed, but they can identify a season of life where desires changed, their image of Christ grew, and they were converted.
A group saturated in the celebration of Christ will foster ongoing change after one has been converted. Where Jesus Christ is exalted and looked to as the only Mediator between God and men, things happen.
Are you excited at the thought of people being in your group, on a regular basis, who do not yet trust Christ as Savior? Are you willing to steward your time/talent/treasures to cultivate the forward movement of God's kingdom, even when it means engaging with people different from you? Does the celebration of Christ and of conversion empower you to truly know others, while letting them know you?
The ongoing celebration of Christ and of conversion can boil down to very simple but profound reorientation of life. It is our hope that these celebrations would lead to more handshakes, initiating redemptive relationships with people you encounter. We hope that meeting and connecting with people in meaningful ways would be an overflow of a joy in Christ and a desire for others to know him.
It starts with initiating relationships, learning the details of their life, sharing the details of your life, taking the steps to go deeper into how they make sense of this world, and of how they view themselves.
You keep going deeper into connection where you invite them deeper into your life, into the relationships you already have centered on the celebration of Christ. You show that you understand how they make sense of life, but through your relationships you show Christ as the One in whom is found all wisdom and truth for life. As with so many other things, we want to share what brings us joy. Conversion to faith in Christ is the overflow of this joy where people boldly engage in loving, yet truth-saturated relationships (see 1 Thessalonians 2:8-13).
Who is in your life right now you can get to know in more meaningful ways? Who can you invite into your home, into Missional Community, into environments where Christ is celebrated?
When someone new shows up to your group, go and say hello with a smile and a handshake. Welcome them to the party.