I recently had the privilege of attending the Send North America Conference in Nashville, a two day gathering of the church in North America. The heart of this gathering is to see a movement of people from within the church living out the mission of God in their everyday lives. It was an amazing time. 13,500 attendees, 600 volunteers and all 50 states represented. It was fantastic. Two full days from early in the morning to late in the evening, packed with worship, great main speakers, and so many relevant breakout sessions it was difficult to choose only three.
For me, going was one more way to grow myself spiritually and as a ministry leader. Another tool in my toolkit. My soul craved this time of renewal, refreshment and refocus. Deep down I hoped to bring home the magic pill, the secret sauce, the 8 essentials, the 3 characteristics, that next new savvy list that was sure to increase my effectiveness, my capacity and my influence. I was hungry for some new revelation that would propel me to the next level. Dry and dusty, I needed to drink deeply of whatever God would reveal. I prepared my heart and arrived in Nashville ….. expectant.
I took great notes. As I allow the words from my journal to soak in I see the same heartbeat and vision as is lived out through Pastor Jeff, our staff and leadership team and LifeSong Church as a whole. Missionaries where we live work and play. Every life on mission matters. And more than ever I sense the importance of discipleship and mission and how so intricately they are connected.
Here are just a few thoughts from the first breakout I attended:
- “Discipleship is not information or behavior modification , rather it is transformation.
- The supreme proof of conversion is a changed heart.
- Mission (regardless if local, national or global) places people in a teachable posture.
- Mission is a part of discipleship; discipleship itself is both the end and the means.
- Mission is our response to what God has done … it is not our justification. We must be careful to keep the truth of the gospel in our hearts, taking care not to glorify the mission but glorify God.” ~ Eric Geiger (paraphrased)
This is just a sampling of all the good stuff I took in …. and go ahead and laugh at my lists ….. I did get the 4 notable qualities of the Acts church, the 8 points on becoming a sending (multiplying) church and the 8 essentials for the local church on mission just like I wanted.
And finally, yes, I received the secret sauce, the magic pill. Are you ready?
God first, everything else second. I need to always put Him first in everything. Go to Him first with everything. My relationship with Jesus comes before anything. If I’m not hearing from Him it’s because I’m not seeking His face, spending time in prayer, fasting, worship and meditation. Everything I am and all the work of my hands flows from that.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33