I could not think of a more appropriate time to begin a CCC Staff Blog than the month of February -- Missions Month! The one time every year when we as a body of believers spend concerted effort and focus on seeing how the Gospel must go through us to a lost and needy world! As important as it is to pray for, support, and send missionaries to foreign lands, it is also crucial to understand and identify our own personal ‘mission field’ in our own community.
Charlotte and I moved here in September 2000 by faith asking God to raise up a new church by seeing the Gospel impact this community by the power of God’s Spirit. Once we had gathered a core team of families, we launched public worship at Lewis Elementary School in Kennesaw. That first Sunday I chose to preach through the book of Jonah as my first sermon series for two reasons. First, I wanted to set the DNA of this church to always seek and submit to the Word of God rather than the thoughts of men. As Heb. 4:12 says, it is only the Word of God in the power of the Spirit that can penetrate the heart of any person and bring about eternal results. Secondly, I wanted to set in the DNA of this church to always love and pursue those without Christ. The book of Jonah is a missionary story about God’s heart for a lost and dying world. It clearly shows that our God is missional and he relentlessly pursues every present and future member of his eternal family.
Since CCC began our motto has been “Changed hearts. Changed Lives. Changed Community.” The progression that exists in our motto always reminds me that the Gospel is powerfully on the move intending to capture the hearts and lives of every child of God. Evangelizing an entire community feels like an impossible task! But when I think about just one person by name who I know needs to see and hear about Jesus, then it doesn’t seem so impossible. In reality, a community changes “one heart at a time.” As my life intersect with others, I have many opportunities for the grace and kindness of Jesus to flow from me to others in my daily activity.
I’ve always said “I want to see us experience church health even more than church growth because healthy churches grow!” Like people, every healthy church has “vital signs.” One of the most important “vital signs” for a church is how broad and deep is the effort for reaching and sharing the gospel with the unconverted. This includes acts of mercy and compassion as well as the spoken message of the cross. In other words, do I truly and faithfully see my world as God sees it – in need of His Son’s atoning sacrifice and forgiveness? The more I have “his eyes” to see everyone in this way, the greater is my own spiritual health and the spiritual health of our church.