Back when I was leading a church we did a series entitled, “What?” We spent weeks answering questions such as: “What makes a man a man?”; What makes a woman and woman?”; “What makes a marriage a marriage?”; “What makes a dad a dad or a mom a mom?”
The last topic of the series what “What makes you, you?”
Months before the series I approached people in our city—mostly wait staff, grocery clerks, bank tellers, random people in the park— and said, “May I ask you a question”…and then would pose one of those questions to them. Even though it was years ago, I still remember the fun I had asking and the varied answers I received. If we were to ask those questions in the public square today, I suspect we would get the similar answers.
The reason I bring this up is because we are in the midst of a devolving revolution and if you are a gospel-centered follower of Jesus Christ you are in a minor minority, with no accepted voice in the public domain. The chief view of our origin is material or natural. There is no God, we all originated in the Big Bang. Flowing from that belief is the greatest moral value which is dominating the cultural consensus: “You are your own self—you decide who you are—you determine what makes you, you.” The oppressive voices proudly shout, “Do not let anyone tell you who you are—not your mom, dad, friends, teachers, courts” etc. “If you are true to yourself you can be anything you want to be.” In essence, you are the hero of your own story.
Let me state it plainly: If you and your church are going to do serious gospel disciple-making with the young adults, teens, middle schoolers, and grade schoolers, you will have to tackle those predominant lies in their story with the greater Story.
As we remind one another of what makes you “you” (and we do need others to help us interpret the Story and our own stories so we know our core identity) and to the degree you remind yourself by hitting the ‘refresh button’ of your personal hard drive (soul), it will deepen your ability to live and thrive while our society continues in its devolving revolution.
The first active reality is that you were created by a good, all glorious, all powerful, and all beautiful Tri-Personal God—God the Father, God Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. You were Created by community for community. All things, everything we see and all who exist, were created by him and for him. But we know we are not right and everything around us in our world (relationships, cultures, races, ecosystems, etc) is not right. Nothing seems to be what it was designed to be. We need Someone to come, outside of the mess we live in, to rescue us.
The second active reality is that you have been rescued by Jesus Christ. He is the Hero of your story. His rescue is one of substitution (He took on the curse of our rebellion against our Maker); one of reconciliation (He made Peace with our Creator); one of adoption (We have been made sons and daughters of our Maker).
The third active reality in having an identity to live freely and endure the hostile revolution is to remember we are now, at the very same moment, completely forgiven yet still a sinner. They are both happening realities at the same moment day by day. “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” is present alongside, “The very things I don't want to do, I do…Who will rescue me?”
It is only after the people (adults, teens, and children) understand and accept this greater Story in their lives can you truly cultivate deep, meaningful relationships with those you’re in ministry with. Are you missing the Gospel Story component in your ministry today? You don’t have to face the challenges alone.
CMM can help you find a Gospel Coach and even train you to coach other high-capacity leaders. We believe every leader needs coaching that involves intentional gospel conversations with focused discussions about one another’s relational, personal, missional, and spiritual life. Learn more about ministry coaching and church coaching today!
Dr. Tom Wood
I've been in the Church Planting business my entire career. I want you to know, you don't have to plant a church alone!