A pastor who is much smarter than I am once said that planting a mission church comes down to “the man, the mission, and the moment.” How are things looking for our new church in Canton, Ga.? The moment seems right. Our county has grown over 400 percent in the last 30 years and the population of Canton itself is projected to grow by 25 percent over the next 10 years. That’s a ton of people who will be looking for a new church home or who have never even heard the good news about Jesus.
Everything appears to be lining up for the mission, too. By the grace of God, Christ the Rock is blessed with a launch team of 25 people of all different ages from all different kinds of backgrounds, who are willing to share what it means to build on Christ the Rock with our growing community. And when 70 percent of the people in our area are unchurched or left churched, it’s a tremendous blessing to have mission-minded Christians ready to go with that mission in front of them!
It’s when we get to that last one, “the man”, that’s when things get a little sticky. Because who am I? What do I bring to the table? How can I accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished to get a new church off the ground? The moment and the mission might be right, but, man…a lot of times I feel ill-equipped. Like I’m the weak link in the “man, mission, moment” mantra.
Maybe that’s okay, though. What was it Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4? “What we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord. . . we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” Paul, the greatest missionary ever, his reminder was it’s not about the jars. . . it’s about Jesus. A clay pot is so fragile. It’s temporary, non-descript. It is so not the center of attention! It’s what’s inside the clay jar. . . that’s the real focus. That’s the treasure! If you make mission work all about the jar of clay instead of the treasure of Jesus inside, then you are going to wrestle with feeling fragile and inadequate.
But thanks be to our Savior, who transforms us into clay jars with the greatest treasure the world has ever seen inside of us. The treasures of forgiveness, life, and freedom through faith in what Jesus did for you and me. That good news comforts and strengthens us as we carry out our mission. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Now I am by no means an expert when it comes to pottery, but I do know that words like “pressed on all sides” “persecuted” and “struck down” don’t sound like good things when you’re talking about something fragile. Then you notice Paul says we are “not crushed” or “in despair” or “abandoned” or “ destroyed”. That can only be possible if someone is taking care of the jar. The glory of the gospel we carry is that Jesus loves us enough to fill us up with this good news and he holds us tight in his arms. He is our strength when things get tough.
The moment is right. The mission is clear. The man. . . is just a clay jar. But it was never about the jar. It’s all about Jesus.
Written by Rev. Cale Mead, a home missionary at Christ the Rock Lutheran Church in Canton, Ga.
Subscribe to future Missions Blogs at wels.net/subscribe.
Learn about the ministry work of WELS Missions.
Support the ministry work of WELS Missions.