Our declaration of what God has called us to.
We Glorify God by Making Disciples of All Nations.
In an effort to accomplish our mission to Glorify God by Making Disciples of All Nations, we realized there has to be a variety of environments that helps us think through and processes what we believe God is calling us to accomplish. Jesus did this in His ministry. We see him in different environments accomplishing different things with different groups of people. For instance, by the time He ascended most believe Jesus had nearly 120 or so followers which would be a rather large gathering of people. Then, Jesus called the twelve which was a smaller group or community of people he engaged in life on mission together with almost daily. Then, we find an even smaller group Peter James and John Jesus engages in some of he most intimate spaces of His life together. So, we have taken Jesus example and our statement as a framework for the development of those environments as we seek to fulfill these in our desire of making disciples.
So, first our vision says that We Glorify God. In this upward call to see God for who He is and what He’s done we see the need and the model of gathering of a larger group coming together. Hebrews 10:24-25 actually tells us to consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds not forsaking our own assembling together, but encourage one another. What we discover is that when we are in the process of making disciples we are gonna need to get together to encourage one another and stimulate one another. Living life on mission gets weary and tiresome. Often times downright discouraging and overwhelming. This isn’t to surprise us right! Jesus actually said we are going to enter into warzone…we are like aliens… So we need to gather regularly because of our day to day mission reminding ourselves how great God is and what He has accomplished through Christ. Why? So we are filled with hope and certainty that God will finish and accomplish what he has started. It was Jesus who said I will build my church… We see hearts being warmed in affection for Christ as they are reminded again in a larger gathering that yes Jesus died for us so we live for him. This is essential for our discipleship because it remind us that we our small group is not alone. Others are facing what we are and when we come together we are able to pause and rest once again in Christ sufficiency and grace and be encouraged, inspired, exhorted, and reminded that we have a God who is capable to help us with everything they will facing in the lives He has called us to live. So we gather once a week to Glorify God and experience equipping to getting us out once again on mission together.
Then our vision says by Making Disciples. So we ask what environment is best in making disciples? What is the best environment for a group of people to live as a family of missionary servants who are disciples who make disciples? This is where we believe our Missional Communities are the best environment to accomplish this. Because we believe you aren’t able to make disciples merely in a gathering. In a gathering, you don’t know if someone is growing or what to speak to in each others life or whether they know or believe in what they have been hearing. There is virtually no way to even know if we are developing the skills of making disciples unless we are doing it together. If discipleship is the lifelong process of applying the gospel to every area of our lives then it is only in the midst of an environment that is life on life can this happen. As we seek to make disciples which are those who worship Jesus are changed by Jesus obey Jesus and teach others to do the same it is Missional Communities that provide us the best environment for this to happen.
Jesus said in John 13 this is how they know they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another. See here we find this communal nature to discipleship that cannot happen in a 1 or 2 hour event on Sunday. It happens in the flow of life together in community as we learn to love one another and be the body of Christ in the everyday things of life while simultaneously being a testimony to the world. When we read Jesus in John 17 He says the world will also know the Father sent the Son because of our unity together in the middle of the world. So they will see a living testimony of people being changed in a broken world and our unity together will be a picture of God the Father sending God the Son. Our time together on mission is like saying this is what God is like as He comes into the world. We cant do this in an event. It has to be done in everyday life. It is imperative we provide an environment that provides a structure for disciple making which has to be life on life, life on mission, and life in community.
As we Glorify God by making disciples we are confronted in the everyday rhythms of life with issues and struggles that people on mission experience together. When you are on mission together often times stuff of the heart shows up! Your messy lives come out. Jesus said out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Its not what goes into a person but what comes out of a person. The beauty is that being on mission in a community is God’s way of squeezing what’s inside so it can be seen and addressed and we can then be changed. Many of these types of issues are unable to dealt with even in this smaller size group. We even warn against it because a lot of people try to make the Missional Communities the primary place that every care, every counseling need gets expressed. When this happens it usually turns into a group counseling session and they lose sight of making disciples and there is a world out there that is lost. But it is important that we love one another and counsel one another and shepherd one another. So we need an environment that will help people grow and be changed by the gospel. This is where we find our DNA groups. We encourage same gender triads that meet together usually once a week usually for an hour to an hour and a half. Enough time so we are able to help people Discover the truths about who God is what He’s done, who they are and how they should live (D), Nurture hearts of one another in our belief, rebellion, and struggle (N), and then as we speak the gospel and lead them to faith and repentance we want them to Act that out in obedience in action and word (A). So we encourage them to meet once a week each person takes about 20 minutes asking: What did learn this week in the word as you studied the word? Where are you having a hard time believing what God is teaching you? Where do you need to respond in repentance and faith? How are you going to act and who are you going to tell about it? This is when we dive deep and engage one another’s need for transformation.
It is when these three work together is when discipleship is developed. Our gathering pulls people back to the truths of God teaching His word reminding us of the gospel. It’s almost like it resets the week reminding us of who Jesus is, what he’s done, and who we are! Once equipped, we are then sent out together on mission as a community. While we are mission there is a lot of things happening a lot of brokenness in us and around us. So, we ask how is your DNA groups are they meeting regularly? Are you working through your struggles and unbelief? So all three are necessary for ongoing discipleship so we have that upward inward outward development of our maturity in Christ.
Lastly, we Glorify God by Making Disciples of All Nations. This final piece is like a capstone for us. It is inclusive of our Missional Communities because our primary way of reaching the nations locally is through our Missional Communities. However, it also reminds us that we are a part of a larger context. That we are not as a faith family isolated from the world and the church as a whole. We challenge ourselves to engage in God’s global call for salvation to the ends of the earth. Often times this is done in a way where many of our Missional Communities partner together to reach a greater expression locally than what they can reach independently or maybe its an opportunity to reach someone in a different context. What we have discovered is often times the greatest way to teach our people how to see our own culture is to engage a totally different culture. So, we have partnerships in Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Guatemala that not only gives us opportunities to plant families of missionary servants who are disciples who make disciples globally, but it also give us a way to engage our own faith family in contexts that take them out of their comfort zone to reveal to them ways to see our culture differently. In addition, we cooperate with other like minded congregations through our strategic missional parterships with the Pensacola Bay Baptist Association, the Florida Baptist Convention, the North American Mission Board, and the International Mission Board.
So that’s our structure here at Pine Summit as "We Glorify God by Making Disciples of All Nations!"