Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ

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Tying It All Together: 4 Missional Mandates/5-Fingered-Approach-to-Missions

GFC iconAgain Jesus said, “Peace be with you!

As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

— John 20:21–22, NIV

In a previous blog, I presented my five-fingered-approach-to-handing-someone-the-gospel. As I said there, it takes all five fingers to hand someone the gospel as we lead our worship ministries on mission to our community. Each element of this five-fingered strategy closely corresponds to God’s four missional mandates that we talked about two weeks ago.

  1. First finger… Meeting people at their point of need: The Great Commandment helps us know that God placed in each of us a deep need to love Him. That is humankind’s greatest need. It tells Christians that we must love others enough to share how Christ meets that need. So often, we are held hostage by personal fear of being on mission to those around us. Loving others more than self is the key to overcoming that fear. The Great Commission commands us to go to them and not wait for them to come to us.
  2. Second finger… In your community: The Great Commission calls us to go first to those locally before we move out to other lands. The Great Covenant calls us out of our comfort zones to move out in faith. The Cultural Mandate helps us understand that we must present the gospel in cultural languages that fit the people groups around us.
  3. Third finger… On a regular basis: The Great Commandment tells us how to love others sacrificially with agape love. The Great Covenant calls us to go and live among them, believing in faith we will find God at work there.
  4. Fourth finger… To develop relationships: The Great Commission compels us to teach the world about obedience. Jesus showed us that obedience is best taught in relationship. The Great Commandment tells us to embrace grace-filled relationships.
  5. Thumbs up… Which lead to witnessing opportunities: This is the ultimate goal of all four of the great mandates. The Great Commission is a command to make disciples of all people groups. The Great Commandment shows God’s intent that all people everywhere would first love him and then love others as themselves. The Great Covenant is a picture of dependence on God moving us out to the world to bring Christ to all people. The Cultural Mandate shows us how God gave us culture as the context through which we express his love for all.

And did you realize this? God’s great strategy presented in the four missional mandates also reflects the circle of missional living: worship-discipleship-mission. Worship is “loving the Lord our God with all our heart and mind and soul,” demonstrated both personally and as his church. Discipleship is following in faith, like Abraham, beyond our comfort zones with dependence on God. Missions is going to all people, loving them, baptizing and teaching obedience until they too go full circle in Christ.

When a worship ministry provides a weekly children’s music group in a nearby apartment complex, they are following God’s great strategy. As a worship ministry adopts local art studios and provides artists with coffee and donuts and volunteer time to develop witnessing relationships, they are following the great strategy. When we adopt a local community theater and provide meals for late night rehearsals, and supply volunteers to paint sets, make costumes, and usher, we are following the great strategy. As we love, serve, and connect with people to witness for Christ, we also grow personally in worship-discipleship-mission.

Recently an atheist sued a Texas county for placing a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn. But when diagnosed with a detached retina, he decided to drop the suit and focus on his health. A member of Sand Springs Church heard about the man’s illness. She phoned her pastor and asked if he would pray about the church offering to help the man. The pastor said he needed no time to pray about it because Christ had already instructed the church to help those in need. So they did. And God worked through their efforts. Now the man who threatened the suit has had a shift in perspective and plans to move down the street from the church. He received enough money from the church to catch up on rent, bills, and taxes, plus they provided transportation to his eye doctor.

“We are literally still in a state of shock,” the man said. “I feel like we are in the Twilight Zone.”1  This church has gone full circle in missional living. How about YOURS??? — Mark Powers

  1. Colter, “Atheist shocked when church helps with bills,” Southern Baptist Texan newsletter, 2012, 8. http://www.brnow.org/News/April-2012?page=8.





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Five Things Jesus Wants YOU to Know from His Great Commission

cross sun fullIn Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus give us the Great Commission. We have looked at the Great Commission from several perspectives in previous blogs. When you get right down to it, Jesus simply means what he says: “go and make disciples.” It cannot be much clearer. Jesus had gathered his earthly followers to speak to them for the last time before he ascended to heaven. We know that someone who is speaking for the last time is going to convey truths of utmost significance, right?

Right! So Jesus’ last words on earth pronounce five eternally significant truths he wants to make sure YOU know:

  1. Since a mandate is a command given by an authority, Jesus wants YOU
    to know that He is the ultimate authority in the universe. His authority
    is given by his father God who created this universe. Jesus is the
    King of kings, Lord of lords, the authority of all authorities. He has
    demonstrated his pre-eminence in his virgin birth, perfect life, death,
    resurrection, and ascension.
  2. Jesus wants YOU to know that He expects ALL his disciples to join God’s mission
    to redeem the world. With his last words on earth, Jesus was not
    suggesting, not asking, not pleading, but commanding every follower
    to make disciples of every people group on earth. Ethnos, the Greek
    word used here, is not correctly translated by the word “nations,” as
    commonly quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. It actually
    translates “people groups.” Traditional missionary organizations
    have defined people groups as ethno-linguistic groups. Curt Watke,
    Intercultural Institute for Contextual Ministry, reminds us that these
    groups can be more fluid, consisting of those who perceive themselves
    to be members of the same social category— nationality, race,
    ethnicity, social class, occupation, gender, religion, affinity, lifestyle,
    etc. Their identification with the group provides them emotional and
    value significance. 1
  3. Jesus wants YOU to know that YOU must go to the world. According to
    the Great Commission, it is not his plan to win the world by getting
    people into our church buildings. We will win the world by getting the church
    into the world. The redemptive mission of God previously delivered
    through the chosen people of Israel is now being handed to every believer
    regardless of culture.
  4. Jesus wants YOU to know that we should baptize those who follow him.
    Why would Jesus command us to do something as theologically
    controversial as baptizing disciples? Because baptism is the way we
    proclaim to the world that we are Jesus’ disciple. Baptism dramatically
    portrays the death and burial of self and the resurrection to new life in
    Christ. Jesus clearly does not want his disciples to follow him in secret.
    Baptism is a public act of discipleship that symbolizes all it means to
    follow Christ. And he commands us to make it a priority.
  5. Jesus wants YOU to know that he expects YOU to teach disciples to obey his commands. There can be no discipleship without obedience to Christ’s Biblical commands.

Now you know… so GO!  — Mark Powers

Curt Watke, “Understanding Your Missional Culturescape: a white paper on defining
“people groups” for mission and ministry,” http://www.missionalcyclopedia.org.

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Four Missional Mandates God gives YOU

Awestruck FamilyGod gives his followers four mandates in Scripture that compel us to be on mission for him. These are so prominent they are referred to as the GREAT MANDATES. It’s amazing, though, that most Christians have only heard of a few of these mandates. So we fail to understand that these mandates present God’s strategy for bringing the world into relationship with him.

A mandate is an official command or instruction from an authority. If we truly recognize God as our authority, we must follow his mandates. Let’s look at them and discover God’s strategy to reach our communities.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.”

Genesis 1:28, HCSB

The first of God’s four missional mandates is known as the “Great Cultural Mandate.” Here mankind is charged to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. God created all human beings with the innate nature to organize the earth regardless of whether they are in relationship with him or not. So the ways in which people subdue and have dominion over their lives lead to many different ways of organizing the world. This is called CULTURE. Because the whole world is being constantly organized and re-organized by people, everything in this world is enculturated. We live our lives in the context of culture by God’s design.

We see those near the ocean live differently from those in mountainous regions. We see people in tropical climates with cultural patterns contrasting those in frigid zones. But cultural variety also extends to local regions. For instance, people in the upstate of South Carolina are different from those in the midlands or low country. Differences abound in the way they relate to life, jobs, friends, church, etc., despite living within 100 miles or so of each other. And within each of those regions are other cultural groupings identified by ethnicity, education, income level, etc.

The cultural mandate helps us understand that God is the author of creative variety, that he created us to express diversity. God’s gift of relationship in Christ is offered to all people of all cultures. Christians must realize that culture is a tool from God through which we communicate his gift of relationship. In Christ we find unity with God, but our cultural expressions of that unity are not uniform. God created it that way. He affirms our cultural diversity in the cultural mandate.

The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. So Abram went as the Lord told him”.  

Genesis 12:1-4b (HCSB) 

The second missional mandate from God is known as the “Great Covenant.” God established this covenant with his chosen servant Abram, soon to be renamed Abraham, meaning “father of a great multitude.” Abraham was a man whose faith in God empowered his life of obedience. Through him, God established the blood line from which Jesus came. God moved Abraham out of his comfort zone to forge a strong FAITH in him. God calls us, too, to move out of the comfort zone of church-ianity. Through Abraham’s lineage of faith, God blessed the world with Jesus. Through our faith, God wants to bless our world.

God stands ready to make us a blessing to the world if we follow him in faith. The process of faith-building is not easy to endure. Like a weightlifting program, God will push us as far as we can go so our faith will endure a life of discipleship and mission. A lifestyle of worship-discipleship-mission builds faithful dependence on God in every situation. That’s the level of faith that will empower us to maximum impact on mission. And, like Abraham, it begins by moving us out of our comfort zone.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul.

And love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:39

God’s third missional mandate to us is commonly known as the “Great Commandment.” Here Jesus gave us his discipleship methodology in a nutshell. We are to set our highest priority on knowing and loving God. God wants us to love him with every fiber of our being. But this mandate is a two-part command. The second half of the mandate tells us to love others as much as we love ourselves. Loving others is a tall order for all of us, especially to love them as much as we love ourselves. But that’s how Jesus tells us to live.

Why is showing LOVE for God and others of such importance as we go on mission? Because the world can easily detect whether we are real or faking it. If we don’t have God at the center of our lives and reflect his love in our relationships, they will see right through it. Nothing will discount our witness to the world quicker than trying to fake love for God or for people. We will be challenged at every turn as we work with people. Godly love must be the overriding characteristic of all we are and do.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18–20, NIV

The fourth missional mandate is the Great Commission. We have looked at the Great Commission from several perspectives in previous blogs. When you get right down to it, this mandate simply means what it says. Here Jesus commanded us to GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES. It cannot be much clearer.

What are God’s missional mandates to us? Express the Gospel in the CULTURAL LANGUAGE of the culture to which you are sent. This will require you to move out of your comfort zone with total FAITH in God. Embody the Gospel as you LOVE God and people supremely. Then GO… make disciples who make disciples for Christ!  — Mark Powers


Kerry Jackson: A MusicArts MISSIONARY… a modern day Apostle Paul

Kerry JacksonAllow me to introduce you to a modern-day Paul. This man is a missional artisan who surrenders his artistic giftedness to God. He models my five fingered approach to sharing the gospel. (See my previous blogpost on the “Five-Fingered-Approach-to-Handing-Someone-the-Gospel.”)

Kerry Jackson was born and raised in Jackson, Miss. He accepted Jesus as Savior at age 9. Early in life he discovered his passion and giftedness for art. His pursuit for more knowledge and skill led him to obtain a bachelor of arts degree in painting from Mississippi State University. After several years working in the commercial art industry, he opened his own art studio. After six successful years, Jackson felt called by God to enter Christian ministry. Jackson sold his business and moved his family to Texas to attend seminary. Shortly after enrolling in seminary, Jackson discovered that God wanted to use the artist in him for his glory.

“While sitting in my car listening to music, waiting to pick up my daughter from piano lessons, God gave me a vision,” Jackson recounted. “I literally saw a stage covered with painted scenes of the life of Christ utilizing special effects such as lighting, drama, etc. God even gave me the name, ‘Drawing to the Rock,’ at that time. The vision was so strong and clear that I wept and began praising and thanking God right there in my car.” 1

After earning a master’s degree in communication arts in 1993, Jackson accepted the position of exhibit designer with the North American Mission Board in Atlanta, Ga. From 2008 to 2010, he served as National Missionary to Cultural Creatives, coordinating efforts to reach this artistic people group in America. Meanwhile, Jackson continued captivating audiences across the country through “Drawing to the Rock” ministries. (For Info on this ministry: http://s396382119.initial-website.com)

Throughout his presentation he paints vignettes depicting mankind’s sinful fall in the Garden of Eden culminating with Christ’s victorious resurrection. While Jackson is creating his works of art onstage he is accompanied by recordings of biblical narratives and music by Christian artists.

In 2006, he and his wife, Twyla, began a home discipleship group for local artists. The Jacksons connected with the Atlanta arts community by volunteering at the High Museum of Art and hosting shows by guest artists at Jackson’s studio near the museum. Their home group soon became a church known as Bezalel Church meeting in a downtown theater. In Exodus 31:1–6 we find the account of Bezalel. Bezalel was appointed by God to oversee a team of artisans charged with building and decorating the tabernacle. Jackson relishes the thought that the first person named in the Bible as being filled with the Spirit of God was an artist. (For info on his ministry in Atlanta check this out: http://www.namb.net/kerry-jackson_for-the-love-of-art-and-jesus)

Two years ago, Kerry and Twyla accepted a new challenge, moving to Indianapolis to partner with NAMB in that unreached city to start a new church plant.

Jackson says, “If you have compassion, a gift, a talent, you can be on mission for God!” I certainly agree. So… do you have compassion and an artistic gift? Are you using it as a missionary in your community?  WHY NOT???  — Mark Powers

1. Weeks, “Artist’s handiwork draws others to Christ,” Baptist Press, Feb. 17, 2003, wwwbaptistpress.com/bpnews.asp?id=15251.

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So You Think You’re a Missional Genius: A Pop Quiz!

Question-MarkI’ve been posting on this blog for over a year now.  Let’s see what YOU have learned?

1. Define attractional worship in your own words. Define missional worship in your own words. What are the differences in the results of these two philosophies of worship?  (See the two videos “Missional Church… Simple” and “Missional Community… Simple” in the right column under MISSIONAL RESOURCES.)

2. What are the five elements of the “Five Fingered Approach to Handing Someone the Gospel”?  Go here: https://goingfullcircleblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/why-i-started-the-m3-musicarts-mission-movement

3. How can your worship team put in action the five-fingered-approach on mission in your community? Go here: https://goingfullcircleblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/a-missional-menu-for-worship-leaders

4. Where is your church on the spectrum between attractional worship and attractive missional worship? How can worship in your church go full circle and grow worshiping disciples on mission?  (Leave a comment below…. I’d like to hear from you!)

5. How can the five-fingered-approach-to-handing-someone-the-gospel enable you to join God’s mission to redeem the world? List the days of the week for the next ten days; then list beside each day of the week how you personally can put this methodology into practice each day and beyond.

Deepest thanks to YOU who read this blog and give me such great feedback. I pray that it is speaking to your heart and mind weekly and translating into a missionary lifestyle in your own life!  Keep up the good work and keep in touch. Next week’s blog will start a series of very practical training about how to grow disciples and lead them on mission to your community. I’ll see you here next week!  — Mark Powers