As we process through the Guiding and Defining Ideas illustration, in today’s blog we come to the fourth and final Heart Motivation. In an effort to develop a more Kingdom-like culture, we will move toward our passion, rhythm, Kingdom lifestyle, and finally, our aspiration. Simply put, our aspiration is to be a life-giving people in all the places God has assigned us.
The Scriptures tell us that we are a people—even a life-giving people. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
God has also assigned us a place in a web of relationships and social networks. We have a place in our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and the like. We are insiders in those places. Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians—and to us—is to “remain in the situation” to which God has called us (see 1 Corinthians 7:17,20,24).
Thus, we are a people in a place. Fortunately, we are not the only Christ-followers in those places. Often God has placed other believers in those same places for us to partner with. In the years that Doug Nuenke led the Metro Mission, he taught us about the importance of “missional transformational communities.” The core idea is to partner with people in common mission for the purpose of transforming the world around us as well as ourselves.
In their book The New Parish, Sparks, Soerens, and Friesen propose the same cluster of ideas. The subtitle of the book is, “How neighborhood churches are transforming mission, discipleship, and community.” They demonstrate that local believers partnering together (and even with unbelievers) for the good of community can bring about substantial transformation.
This is exactly what the Scriptures teach. Here’s how the apostle Paul puts it, “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people” (Titus 3:8).
In Old Testament times, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again” (Isaiah 58:12, The Message).
Who are you partnering with for the good and transformation of your community? To what extent is God using this partnership in your own transformation?