Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22, 2009

"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20
It doesn't take a lot of people to change a situation, but it does take committed people, and it takes united people, and it takes people with a plan.
You would have thought that after three years of powerful revolutionary ministry, Jesus would have had a large following. If everyone He preached to and touched and healed would have followed Him there would have been thousands. If just the people He miraculously fed would have followed Him that would have been 9,000 or 10,000!
But following His death and resurrection and at this moment prior to His ascencion, here He was with eleven guys! Now, we know there were more because on the Day of Pentecost there were 120 in the Upper Room. But these were His "go to guys". And history records that they got it done! Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
I think we get easily intimidated and feel that we are outnumbered. We look at large churches or other mass movements and feel inferior. Sometimes we wonder what is wrong with us? Why aren't we larger?
There was none of that on this occasion as they met Jesus at a familiar place on the mountain in Galilee. They were not focused on what they didn't have or what they needed or what was wrong with them. They focused on one thing - Jesus and His command.
As they worshiped and as they heard Jesus' words, they became aware of some powerful tools they possessed:
Commitment! They were fully committed and engaged in carrying out the Command that He had given them. They didn't vote on it. It wasn't a multiple choice. They didn't wait for a better offer. They didn't try to negotiate. No, they heard the mandate and went and began a movement.
It doesn't take a lot of committed people to start a movement. One thing I discovered being part of several large churches is that a large church is just a collection of smaller committed groups of people. If there are 1,ooo people in a church, maybe 500 of them will be committed - maybe less. At least half of them are along for the ride. And that number of committed people meet in small groups or ministry teams to carry out their commitment.
Unity! These eleven men were committed TOGETHER to carry out the mission that Jesus had given them. Now, understand that unity doesn't mean total agreement. It says in these verses that some doubted. We don't know if that means two or ten, but clearly there were within this group differing levels of confidence in the mission. But, those who were lacking in faith did not seek to hinder the mission. They drew strength from those who were more sure rather than tryng to spread their doubt.
It is not unusual to have varying levels of commitment, talent, faith, spiritual maturity, intelligence, and experience within a group of people. In fact, that is the norm and that is what makes a small group effective. When the variety of people come together and commit to a common mission or goal, they lift and strength each other. Obviously, on a football team of eleven players you have eleven different skill sets and assignments necessary to accomplish the mission. You certainly don't want eleven quarterbacks! Or any other position for that matter.
Plan. Jesus gave them a strategy. They were to begin in Jerusalem, then move out to Judea, and Samaria and on the the world. Eleven people can do that! They didn't just run off in every direction working in random places. They started in the place they knew with the people they knew and shared what they knew about Jesus. Soon, the eleven was twenty-two and the twenty-two became forty-four and forty-four became eighty-eight, etc.
This is why I am excited about FredWes. I know it doesn't take a lot of people to change a city. It does take committed people and united people and people with a plan. We can do that! We are dong that! We will do that!
And some day, those few of us who God used to begin the movement will look back and marvel at how so few did so much with so little to accomplish so much! It must have been God!