The crowd is all worked up. The scoreboard shows that there is just one point separating the home team from their rivals. The home team is down. The team calls the time out and huddles up. The coach calls the play. The team nods and starts to head back in. The captain of the team stops them for just a moment. He makes eye contact with each one. He says, “This is it. Now is the time. Don’t hold back. We’ve got to give it everything. Let’s go ALL IN.” A whistle blows then the team takes its place for the final play…
Been in that huddle? Seen that movie? Or maybe you’ve seen that movie dozens of times… or that scene in dozens of movies. There is something that calls to us in those moments when there is something bigger than just us or our effort on the line. We know it will take more than just one person or a half-hearted effort to get there. There are times that teams need an All In moment.
Okay... I know this term is being used a lot recently. It was the rallying cry of the Cleveland Cavaliers in their march toward an NBA championship. It is the advertising slogan for Spirit Cell coverage... everything is included for one low price. It is also a betting term when you risk everything you have without holding back anything in reserve.
As a church…. as a team of people that God has brought together this time and place… we need moments like these. Moments when we rally around the challenge in front of us… we look across the team huddle and ask ourselves – are we going to lay it all out there and not hold anything back. Are we going to give ourselves completely to the challenge that God has for us?
As we enter this fall, we need to look specifically at 3 challenges that we face as a church. They are not unique to us. Every church needs to face and conquer these challenges. But for us, the moment is critical on these things.
I am convinced that we need to face the challenge of being invitational, inclusive and involved. Let me explain:
Invitational. Part of the calling that God has for every church body is to reduplicate itself. These ideals are represented in the great commission. Jesus asked us to go out and to make disciples. Simply put, our ministry is not just about those who might show up. But there is a part of the ministry of the church that is focused outside of our selves. We need to create moments and programs where people can reach out... and we need to create moments and programs where we can invite others. We all know someone who needs Jesus. Learning to invite is part of our growth process
"Philip found Nathanael and told him, 'We have found the ONE Moses wrote about… whom the prophets also wrote -- Jesus of Nazreth… Come and see.'" John 1:45-46 NIV
Inclusive. Jesus told us that the way others would know we were His disciples is by the love we showed to one another. It is easy to talk to people we already know. And people see that interaction and understand that there is a level of love and care here. That is awesome. But what they don’t always say out loud, but wish that we could hear is – they want to be included too. Love is also a matter of including people in our lives. It is a part of including people in our circles of friendships. It is a matter of beginning conversations with people as we gather. This needs to be an inclusive place, not and exclusive club.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
Involved. You get out of something what you put into it. This is true of church as well. Most of us will enjoy the experience of being in the church much more when we are involved with the things the church is doing. We all have a part to play. The church works best when we collectively come together and share our gifts toward a common goal. God designed the church to be a place of involvement. The church needs what you have to offer.
"Now the body is not made up of one part but of many…. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:14, 27 NIV
So… this August, we are going to get very practical and intentional in ways that we can all do this together. Not only will we teach through it, we are providing opportunities to do it. I would like to invite you to huddle up at a time of prayer in the month of August. We have set aside 3 prayer nights in mid to late August. We are asking you to consider joining us for one of those nights. A time when we can talk to our Coach, hear the play, pray, as we prepare to go out on the field this fall. The nights are: Wednesday, August 19th @ 7:00 pm, Wednesday August 26th @ 7:00 pm or Sunday, August 30th @ 6:30 pm.
God has a great fall in store for us. Let’s learn together, huddle up and pray, and then go get it.