by Zach Below
Another year has come and gone. Can you believe it? The end of a year always seems to bring about reflection. We reflect on wins, hard learnings, and the missed opportunities. Hopefully, you experienced more wins than missed opportunities in the last year. And my prayer is that those hard learnings turn into wins in the new year.
While reflection can sometimes beat us up, something amazing happens as the calendar moves from December to January…the feeling of a fresh start. January 1st is a picture of grace that manifests itself in hopeful energy fueled by short-term memory loss and a renewed vision. We feel like we could take on the world. We stand up straight and say this is the year we do something that matters, something with lasting impact. We strap up our boots and prepare to march up the hill alone if necessary.
Luckily, we don’t have to march alone. God gave us a gift, the Church, and if we put our renewed energy together I have no doubt that not only could we do something with lasting impact, we could do something with global and generational impact. So this year, grab some people to take that hill with you, whatever that hill is. Because when Christian community loosens the reigns of territorial boundaries, when it invites others into God’s mission and offers a collective vision…watch out, world.
Here are 5 powers of THE Church on mission.
As the Church, we are energized by hope and grace that moves us to action. Still, the hardest step in accomplishing anything is the first step. It’s the question of “what can I really do?” This is the power of living in a Christian community. When it’s functioning properly, we not only have the basis for action, but we have the support structure for sustainable action. The first step to changing and shaping our communities is simply to be active in the world. Small groups allow us to participate in this activity in community…which is always more fun.
Groups tend to draw eyes and garner attention that individuals simply don’t or can’t. We are often fooled by our individualism and personality-driven society into believing that we don’t need others to accomplish what needs to get done. The truth for most of us is that on a day-to-day, real-life basis, we only carry enough influence for a very limited number of people. On the other hand, a group of people, particularly a Christ-centered group of people, have the potential to pool their expertise and collective relational capital in order to make people take notice.
If the 80’s decade offered us nothing else, it at least gave us awesome cartoons. One of those awesome cartoons was called Voltron. In Voltron, those 5 different colored lions were awesome fighting machines alone, but when they came together they formed Voltron—a giant super robot that defended the galaxy from evil. Separately they could fight, but together they were unstoppable. We all have a bit of fight on our own; but when the body of Christ comes together around a common vision and purpose, it’s unstoppable.
People are inherently creative. Unfortunately, most of the time our creative thinking remains locked inside our own minds. Collective brainstorming allows us to speak aloud those crazy ideas we have dreamt up. And do you know what happens when you speak them out loud with a group of motivated people? They lose some of their craziness. Because Jim knows a guy who does something like that, and Tracy has written a grant for a playground before, and Bob’s cousin works in the zoning office, and Matt knows how to get his hands on one of those. All of a sudden, something that was impossible in the mind of one person has some real potential and movement behind it. That is the power of collective creativity.
It is so easy to turn negative when you are trying to tackle something alone. Even the most positive people will suffer the darkness of negativity when they are silo’d. But a room full of positive, optimistic people…that can make you feel like you can accomplish anything.
! We have a massive number of Christ followers, saved and motivated by grace within the walls of the Church. This week, grab a few and start marching up that hill.