The last thing Jesus told His disciples before He ascended to heaven was this:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8 NIV)
Ten days later, the Holy Spirit fell on a gathering of about 120 believers in Jesus, and God used them to fulfill this prophecy, and to shake the world. This is still the calling of the Church of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is for us, but it is not about us. It’s about continuing the fulfillment of Jesus’ own mission “to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 NIV)
The church is more than an institution. Far more. It is more than a fellowship of believers, as precious as that is to us. It is more than a place where believers gather to worship. Not just a building. The Church is the embodiment of Jesus Christ in the world. We are Jesus with skin on – made tangible so people may see and know the Lord of the universe. Our mandate is not to be blessed and happy. It is to take the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ across the street and to the ends of the earth. We will find blessings and happiness in spending ourselves in this glorious task. It’s not about us!
Most of the believers in Jesus who worship at Gathering Point Church do not go to the ends of the earth as missionaries. God has called others to go and live in places where the Gospel is needed like Guatemala, Ghana and South Asia. Our congregation partners with these vocational missionaries and their ministries to extend the Gospel from Dayton, Indiana to the ends of the earth. Some of us at GPC have heard a call to be part of these ends-of-the-earth ministries by going there personally on short-term mission trips. Many of us participate by helping to finance the ministries through the Faith Promises we make at our annual Global Impact Celebration missions conference. All of us participate in taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth by being part of a church that does so, and by doing the “across the street” part – being witnesses in our own homes and neighborhoods, in our workplaces and schools, and in our community. It’s not about us!
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He left us with the ongoing task of seeking the lost to bring them to Jesus to find salvation, forgiveness, and both transformed and eternal life. Lost people matter to Jesus. We make Jesus real to lost people by loving them, praying for them, praying with them in a moment of crisis or illness, and serving them. Yes, lost people matter to Jesus, and they must matter to us, because it’s not about us!
When we gather for worship, prayer and the ministry of the Word of God, we are blessed. That is good. But it must never stop there. We are blessed to be a blessing. The blessings of God are invested into our lives so they may be shared with those who do not yet know Him. Jesus is not so much interested in making me happy as He is in making me holy. And His holiness is holy love, transforming our lives and pouring through our lives to touch and transform others. It’s not about us!
I am honored to be pastor of a congregation with a long heritage of evangelism, prayer, worship, and missions. One of the signs of spiritual health and vitality of any congregation is its outreach beyond its own walls. Gathering Point Church lives out Acts 1:8, extending our reach to Jerusalem (Trinity Life Ministry), Judea (Narrow Gate Ministry), Samaria (The Refuge Teen Challenge), and the ends of the earth (Church Planting in Ghana, Impact Ministries in Guatemala, Global Hope Partners in South Asia and beyond through TMS Global and International Leadership Institute). It’s not just our words or our hopes or our dreams to take the Gospel beyond our walls. It’s our reality. Because truth is, it’s not about us!