Saturday, September 20, 2014

Starting Your Own Prophetic Mission Group

As prophetic witnesses to Jesus Christ, we need to affirm that our witness has a communal dimension as well as a personal one.

How delightful life would be if affirming our communal witness was simply a matter of identifying which religion rightly witnessed to Jesus Christ rather than being tragically compromised by devotion to the six false Olympian gods. Then we could simply join that one right religion and rejoice. Sadly, Christianity should be devoted to Jesus Christ but has become tragically compromised.

How gratifying life would be if at least one denomination within Christianity were rightly devoted to Jesus even if the rest had become primarily Olympian. Sadly, this isn’t true either.

In bygone days, groups of Christians made much of how we should organize our churches and denominations. Different Christian groups believed that monarchical, aristocratic, or democratic methods of organization were the most biblical and sole legitimate method of organization and structured themselves accordingly. All methods, however, eventually led to organizations tightly sealed against any interference by Jesus. This is true even when, as with the Mennonites of the 1500s and the Quakers of the 1600s, the early organization truly expressed a genuine movement of the Holy Spirit.

What a relief it would be if just one congregation was primarily devoted to Jesus. Then at least we could move to its location, join, and at last find peace. Sadly, this isn't going to happen either.

This is why Jesus has taken the bold step of calling some of us oblivious Christians, heedlessly pursuing an Olympian way of living, to live instead as his prophetic witnesses. This is why he has chosen to break the Olympian spell under which we lived and to invite us to do the same for other Christian Olympians.

Every person has a wholly Olympian personality and a wholly Christian one. Jesus himself has put our wholly Olympian personality into our dark past and has made his wholly Christian personality our bright future. Having broken the Olympian spell under which we once lived, he calls us now to start participating in this bright future.

To help us do this, he is calling us to form with him a little prophetic mission group with at least one other person that he likewise has called to be a prophetic witness to him. Again he assures us, "where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them" (Matthew 18:20, New Revised Standard Version, here and following).

Why at least two witnesses? First, because love is relational. It can’t be done alone. How can we witness to Christ’s love if we aren’t loving anyone? Second, much as we might be personally committed to living as a prophetic witness, we can’t sustain that witness alone. Our Olympian culture is simply too intense. If we don’t meet personally and regularly with at least one other person called, like us, to be a prophetic witness, then our Christian personality will wither and our prophetic witness will simply vanish.

We may meet personally and regularly with at least one other prophetic witness in a variety of meaningful ways.

Hopefully you currently attend a church. If you do, then with at least one other prophetic member of that church you could start a prophetic Bible study on Sunday mornings. Your purpose would be to discern, together, how you might strengthen the distinctly Christian witness of your congregation as a whole. Jesus tells us the Kingdom of God “is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened” (Luke 13:21 NRSV). Witness to the presence of his kingdom and leaven that lump of dough!

Perhaps you and your prophetic friend(s) attend different churches in the same or even different denominations. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you meet, again, to strengthen your own Christian personalities and to serve as prophetic yeast in your different churches. Perhaps you could meet on Wednesday nights for mutual edification. You could share how last Sunday’s witness in your respective congregations went, listen for a word from Jesus through a biblical passage, discuss ways in which you will share that word the following Sunday, then pray for one another.

If you are between churches, waiting for a word from Jesus about where next to serve as a prophetic witness to him, you could meet with other members of your prophetic mission group late Sunday afternoon for mutual edification. Then, when the invitation from Jesus comes to share his transforming word with some new congregation, perhaps even in a denomination new to you, you will be ready. You could continue to attend this late Sunday gathering of prophetic witnesses for enduring support and accountability.

It may be that Jesus will even call your prophetic mission group to serve as a new congregation within an existing denomination. In this way you, as a congregation, might serve as yeast leavening the whole denominational lump of dough. Who knows?

As prophetic witnesses to Jesus, we are intentionally committed to unconditionally sharing with other Christians all the freedom, truth, love, and vitality that are ours in Jesus Christ. Our mission is not to replace existing Christian congregations. Our mission is to serve Jesus by calling them back to their senses.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.