Friday, November 1, 2013

Are you happening to mission or is mission happening to you?

This Sunday will be 8 weeks since we launched Southlands Fullerton. God has been exceedingly good to us, and it is so satisfying to see the fruition of almost two years of prayer and planning.

There has been early traction in the Sunday gatherings, with an energetic buzz of volunteers,
a full house in Laguna theatre, clear preaching of message and mission, and a wonderful sense of God's presence as we've worshipped and prayed for one another.Visitor quotient has been good too. Perhaps even more important vital signs of life, have been the after-service community gatherings, and the launch of six life groups, who are already finding creative ways to be a faithful presence in the city. Nick and Kari and the lead team have done a remarkable  job of planting a community on mission,
not just a meeting.

Southlands Brea has risen to the challenge of the new season with energy, generosity and composure. Obviously it is feeling the effects of sending out  many high quality people; leaders, musicians, volunteers and just all-round great disciples. But that's the way it should be in these seasons. Of course it means a season of re-building for Brea, and that means new people playing new roles on the building site. Let's dig in deep here, trusting God for increased traction, momentum and life. We are not left behind. We are staying behind on mission with great Gospel intent!

Rynelle said to me a few days ago, "You know, it is one thing when you happen to mission. It is another thing when mission happens to you." I would say that is a profound way to describe the dynamics of the two communities. In Fullerton, because people are going ready on mission, they are happening to mission. They are expecting the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable and the new. In some ways, that is easier because you count the cost of  moving to a new place. At Brea, mission is happening to us. We have not moved physically, but we feel the effects of mission - less people, more work and no sense of the novelty of a new adventure. But actually, it is a brand new adventure for us. It is just happening in the same geography! There is new risk and new reward.

 In 1 Samuel 30, when David left with soldiers to plunder the Amalekites,  some people stayed behind with the baggage. On returning with the plunder after victory, he insisted that those who stayed behind  would share in the plunder of battle. This is an insight into Gospel mission. Whether we go or stay, we share in the risks and rewards of the Gospel. It is so important as a church for us all to count the cost of this mission, being ready to share in it's  risk because we all share in it's reward.

God is faithful. He is already sending great new people our way. On Sunday we welcome in 22 new members in at Brea. There are new members about to be prayed in at Fullerton too. Financial giving has also increased to meet the needs of the new season, and we are grateful for that. As well as that, this weekend Erik and Celeste take 20 people away fro the Alpha Holy Spirit Weekend. Most of these are people exploring the Christian faith. This is magnificent, and requires our prayer.

What a joy to be under the pressure of Gospel multiplication. May Jesus, who commissioned us to make disciples, empower us,  unite us, and cause us to walk boldly in His peaceful authority.

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