The grace of God draws us into his presence, no doubt about that! How can we resist the One who knows of our idiocy, our rebellious hearts, and our deep-seated resistance to his Spirit and yet who willingly gets up on the cross for us anyway? The beauty, the tenderness, the perfection of such love compels us to enter in.

Once inside, however, the boom gets lowered! “Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” (Judges 6:25). Wow! Gideon was not only commanded to take on the whole city’s immorality, he was commanded to take on his own father (family)!

Just as Gideon was commanded to do, we are commissioned to “confront the culture” as well. God apparently enjoys our “worship services” and commands us to never forsake them; however, the assignment goes well beyond assembling. The mission of the church is (1) to go, (2) to make disciples, (3) to baptize them, and (4) to teach them to follow suit. In other words, the mission of the church is to be involved in the endless multiplication of disciples and in the planting of other, multiplying congregations.

The scary part is that this cycle of reproduction can be terminated by any single generation. Simply by ignoring the mission and focusing on some other (albeit worthy) activity in the place of the God-given assignment the church of Christ can cease to exist upon the earth. Equally troubling is the fact that “merely” winning our biological offspring to the Lord (as beautiful, rewarding, important, etc., as that is) will not take the place of us being a reproductive Christian community. In other words, in addition to winning our children we must also be teaching them (by our own example) to seek and to save lost people.

The Mission of the Lord’s church is clear. We can either seek to avoid it, which we do sometimes with astounding creativity, or we can pray that God will empower us to embrace it.

Today we are witnessing a few of our young people who are committed to doing their part to fulfill the church’s mission. I am encouraged by their sacrifice and determination. May the God of all creation use them and empower them as they seek to save lost people. May we all determine to follow their example.