This was an incredible talk that I will return to over and over. Its implications for the church and its mission are inestimable.
The characteristics of a strategic mission mindset (Acts 2)
There are themes here for us all.
Main event = PENTECOST
Acts 1:13 tell us the disciples were gathered. Doors locked. In fear.
This room = their place of security and bonding together.
They had encounter and hope there.
They got fired up there!
They were where Jesus told them to be.
They were united there!
It was very special place – but also potentially a very dangerous place. It had the potential to become their prison.
We have to be willing to engage in ‘the mission before the mission.’ To keep an ‘upper room mentality.’ Attached to the last encounter, the last paradigm, the last place Jesus spoke to us. Waiting for lighting to strike the same way, twice.
People say ‘This where God did this and that, I loved it then, it used to be packed out.’ Hoping for a repeat dose of what happened before but odds of being struck by lightning – 1 in 9mliion and God doesn’t often duplicate. He incubates in that room. Jesus said they are there to get power to witness and GO out!
By Acts 8 they were stuck in Jerusalem – it took the pressure of persecution to get them out.
Later they were stuck in Judaism, It took the pressure of Gentiles getting saved to force that.
The church often has that upper room mentality. How attached are you to your comfort zone? Are we willing to break free? You can’t be wished out – must be drawn out, prayed out, taught out, propelled out and sent out. The people God wants to send you may take your favourite seat. Will you thank God – or mourn what you lose?
We have to help people know we know change is hard – but it’s worth it, and better!
We also have to be willing to close the gap between them and us till there is no them and us. They ended up out of the room and into the crowds. Surrounded by people eager or curious to see what was happening but hadn’t heard what it meant.
To close the gap we must, like them –
Step out – availability yes there are things the Holy Spirit can do but there are things we are expected to do! He’s waiting for us to do what you haven’t done before. Into their comfort zones. We are the missional ones, don’t expect them to do all the work. Go where they gather.
Stand out – visibility. They had been hiding in that room. For good reasons. Do not disturb. But when the Spirit came, he totally blows their cover. Like a noisy neighbour, the Spirit creates a commotion and drew them right into it. Who knows you’re a Christ follower? Are you unapologetically your Christian self without being intense or weird? Will you take the risk of being seen so people say ‘Who are they?’ It’s not comfortable. Acts 2:13 shows we’ll be misunderstood too. People want to be seen and celebrated but not stand out.
Speak up – don’t lose your voice. You can use your mouth and your hands at the same time. Don’t content to do good and not mention Jesus. We don’t simply exist to serve the good, but Christ. To follow the Master. We are the message but we also have a message. We hear about angels coming to Muslims etc – but like with Cornelius’ angelic visitation, like Peter – we have to tell people what the gospel is. How can they hear without someone preaching to them? We want to understand other faith groups etc – but it’s not enough to just understand each other. We have to speak in ways others understand. They didn’t know everything that was going on but Peter spoke to them in ways they could understand. What we say matters.
To keep from going back to the upper room – we need
What do you see, where you are?
A multiethnic gathering was impacted wonderfully. Peter paints a picture from Joel of a God-soaked future. Racial and Gender equality. This vision will characterize the new normal. This- was that. For children, youth and women! Joel’s prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. But there have been glimpses.
We don’t just want to respond to the world’s need, we are here to change it.
We have something beyond what is now.
We are not just called to grow bigger but to transform the world.
Maybe you don’t need to ‘get a vision.’ Maybe you need to see and recognize what God is already doing and be more intentional that this – is that. Is there something you see, that God is doing?
We have to clarify and revisit vision
In Acts 10 Peter needed to be reenvisioned.
He later said ‘I now see..’
And in Gal 2 he’s rebuked because he forgot what he saw.
We have to work at vision continually. What do I need to see, differently?
God is at work in the world. The Holy Spirit has ALREADY been poured out – now we need to pray not for him to do our bidding but for us to do his.
The Spirit was already at work in the crowd! But they would never have seen that unless they went out and joined in with what he was already doing.
Respond and Engage
Follow up by tracking, monitoring and progressing.
There is nothing spiritual about being disorganized!
We progress God’s purpose by creating a place for life.
The disciples, disciple these people.
In prayer, eating, together
And they counted. Not to measure OUR value to God, but theirs!
They track impact. Who’s coming to faith? Acts 6 says. They track this. Be aware what’s accomplished. Luke’s recording. Someone has to.
Gauge yourself 1 to 10 on these.
Your mission before the mission
Closing the Gap
Responding and engaging with what the Holy Spirit is already doing
How committed are you to following up?
What’s one thing you can do to make a difference to one of those?