Every church needs a mission (the what) and a strategy (the how). The mission of Union View centers on knowing and delighting. Everything we do at Union View is aimed at helping people know and delight in Jesus. There’s nothing new here. Every church that organizes itself around the Bible shares the same mission–though we may say it differently. That’s what we are trying to accomplish, but how do we do it? Once people are connected to our church we utilize Sunday worship, Bible classes and disciple groups to help people grow in knowing and delighting in Jesus. Our strategy for helping people know and delight in Jesus who don’t have a connection to our church, or any church, is called Every Member on Mission
Before I explain the strategy I want to ground it in biblical truth. In Acts 17 Paul is sharing the gospel in Athens. He gives a wonderful argument for Jesus, from creation to resurrection. But I want to focus our attention on one part of his argument, found in two verses 26 and 27.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Acts 17:26-27
This is an incredible passage that works out some of the details of what it means to say that God rules over all things and governs the events in our lives: especially when it comes to people. Paul says 3 things about God: God is in control of who lives, of when & where they live, and and then we’re told the purpose behind all of it. Let’s work through those .
God is in control of who lives
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth v. 26a
God is governing the existence of every nation on earth. When you hear the word nation don’t think of boarders on a map, think people groups. The Greek word for nation refers to a group of people united by kinship, culture, and traditions. You can have several people groups inside of one modern Nation, even inside one state. God brought every distinct little people group into existence from Adam.
We can make a logical inference from this: God cannot govern the existence of people groups without governing the existence of the the individuals in those group. That’s important to see, because what Paul goes on to say about the nations is true of the individuals who live in them.
God also determined when and where we live
having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place v. 26b
The word determined is two words in Greek: determine & command.Paul says this as forcefully as he can to stress that God is actively ruling over our lives. Paul points out 2 things. First, God determines our allotted periods. That means God determined and commanded the time in which you live. Have you ever heard someone say, “I was born in the wrong generation.” That’s impossible! It’s impossible because God is the one overseeing when you live. That you live in this century, in this decade, on this very day is not coincidence, it’s not chance, it’s not random.
You live in this moment because God determined and commanded that you should live in this moment.
Second, Paul tells us that God determines the boundaries for our dwelling place.
You live in your state because God put you here. You live in your city, town, or rural county because God put you there. You live in your house on your street because God put you there!
None of that happened outside the sovereign rule of God!
The aim of all God’s determining & commanding is that we should seek God, feel our way toward him, and find him
that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. v. 27
How incredible is that. What drives the sovereign and providential rule of God is his desire that we might find him. Just think on that for a moment, and be incredibly thankful that the person with the ultimate power and control in the universe uses it in a loving way! You live when and where you live for two reasons.
First, so that you might find God. If you’re a Christian, look back on your life. Think about when and were you lived when you met Jesus. Think about the other people that God had around you: someone there to share the gospel with you, give you a Bible, give you a book, invite you to church. All of that was the work of a loving God.
Second, once you’ve found God, you live when and where you live so that others might find God through you. That’s just the way God works. He uses his children, like lights in the darkness, to point others to the King. I love the imagery Paul uses here. It’s as if people are feeling around in a dark room, looking for something, and the hope is that they would run in to you, and that you would point them to the Jesus.
This truth is the foundation of our strategy for helping unbelievers know and delight in Jesus. We trust that God has put us where we are and when we are so that those wandering in the darkness can see the light of Jesus as we share the gospel. Never forget that! Any time you think you are incapable of being a part of God’s mission, any time your heart is full of fear at the though of sharing the gospel, remember the sovereign God of the universe has put you in that position—and he doesn’t make mistakes. Every member of the body of Christ in on mission.
6 things to do with and for those around you
To make our strategy as simple as we can, we’re encouraging you to do six things with and for those around you: your neighbors, family, coworkers, etc.
- Meet everyone & learn their names
- Pray for the people you meet
- Share a meal with them
- Find a need, Fill a need
- Enjoy some celebration/fun time
- In all of this seek out Gospel conversations
In the coming weeks we’re going to post articles about each of these six to give you ideas and encouragement. The important thing for every Christian to believe that God has put you where you are, when you are, so that others might come to know and delight in Jesus through you. You’re on mission with God today! Have a heart and mind to be aware of that, and trust the God who has ordered all these things.