Last week, I gave you guys a little teaser on what’s next for NoLimits Church. God has updated our vision and it’s time to run after it.
When we start talking about vision, it can seem kind of ambiguous or dreamy, but let me make it practical for you.
Vision is simply the direction God gives us. To fulfill the vision, we obey what God asked us to do. And we’ve never been more ready to obey than we are right now.
But to be honest, we don’t have a lot of good examples. The American church isn’t real good at doing what God asked us to do.
The Comfortable Commission
Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of the nations. Instead, we go into our churches and invite the world to come to us.
This feels kind of like obedience. But is it really obedience when we morph God’s assignment into something that is more comfortable for us? No, not really.
We’ve believed the lie that the only place to do ministry is in the church. When God calls someone into ministry, they automatically think it’s to pastor, or lead worship, or whatever.
But, our assignment is to go into all the world which means more ministry is to be taking place outside of the church than in the church. This rocks our little church world, so let’s unpack this.
I like how Bill Johnson explains it:
“Every believer is in full-time ministry—only a few have pulpits in sanctuaries. The rest have their pulpit in their areas of expertise and favor in the world system.” -Bill Johnson
Whoa. All this time we’ve been elevating the church leaders as the only one’s doing ministry. And because of it, the world is lost in darkness.
Here’s how Lance Wallnau explains it:
“The sober truth is that everywhere the Church fails to exercise her authority, a vacuum opens for darkness to occupy.” -Lance Wallnau
The Church’s Failing
The darkness we see in culture right now is our fault. It’s the church’s fault. We’ve been camping out in the church when we should have been going into all the world.
We knew something was wrong, so we came up with our own solution. Instead of going into all the world, we are going to invite the world to come to us.
But in order for this to work, we have to become more like the world so they feel comfortable in our church services.
Nevermind the fact that Jesus told us to be in the world but not of the world. Instead, we’ve decided to stay out of the world and become like the world so the world might pay a visit.
I’ve been to some really good church growth conferences and was able to take some really helpful things away from them. But there was always one thing that didn’t sit right with me.
They would explain how Sunday services should be designed to reach the lost. So, we should create something that lost people love to attend – a place where they are comfortable.
Since we are called to reach the lost, this sounded really good, but I could never get it to fit into what God was asking me to do here at NoLimits.
The Pastor’s Purpose
If you’ve been through Growth Track, you’ve probably heard me say these things about Sunday services, that we should have services lost people love to attend. Every time I’ve said that in Growth Track, I could sense the Holy Spirit say, “Well, not quite.”
Even so, I struggled to reconcile this in my head. I want us to be a church that reaches the lost, so it was hard to let go of this idea until God led me to this scripture:
Ephesians 4:12 NLT – [The pastor’s] responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
What is my assignment as your pastor? To equip who? God’s people. To do what? God’s work.
The purpose of our Sunday service is not to reach the lost. It’s to equip you to reach the lost in your daily life. See the difference?
If our Sunday services were designed to reach the lost, there would only be one person reaching the lost: me. And only one day that we are reaching the lost: Sunday.
But if I obey God by equipping God’s people to reach the lost, then we have lots of people reaching the lost every day of the week.
Which strategy is going to reach more people? The one I learned at the church growth conference or God’s strategy?
I’m here to equip God’s people. I’m here to increase your faith. I’m here to push you out of your comfort zone. I’m here to help you get sin out of your life so the power of God is no longer hindered.
Let me recap what went wrong in the church so we can get clear on the vision moving forward.
The Church lacks cultural influence because we’ve been trying to change the world from within the church rather than releasing the Church into the world.
The goal isn’t to convince the world to come to our church services. The goal is to be a Church who equips God’s people to go into all the world.
Let me put it to you this way:
- Church + Gospel – Culture = Religion
- Church – Gospel + Culture = Woke
- Church + Gospel + Culture = God’s Kingdom on Earth
The Seven Mountains
In 1974, God gave two church leaders the same revelation. They were praying about how to turn the world around for Jesus, and God revealed seven things to focus on:
This is now called the seven mountains of influence. What this means is that each of these seven things have tremendous influence in our culture. They shape how people think and what they do.
In other words, those who are in leadership of each of these seven mountains will determine the culture of a nation. So, when Jesus tells us to disciple the nations, He means to serve in places of leadership in each of these seven areas.
The problem is, the church has vacated six of the seven mountains and left the world in charge. And honestly, most churches have given the world the church mountain too because of wokeism.
Now we are in a place where we have to take back the territory we’ve given to Satan so we can make disciples of the nations and get everything ready for the return of Jesus Christ.
The Victorious Church
This seems overwhelming, but here’s the truth:
I John 4:4 NKJV – You are of God, little children, and have overcome [the world], because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Satan ain’t got nothing on us. The only reason he’s been able to do what he’s done is because the church has been hiding out in the church.
As soon as we decide to go into the world, we experience victory. We find favor with God and man. God pours out a blessing so much we can’t contain it.
It’s time to invade the seven mountains with the kingdom of God. It’s time to take the children of the devil off their throne and put children of God in those places of leadership and influence.
This is God’s vision for NoLimits Church. God is sending us out into the seven mountains of influence so we can discipline this nation like He told us to.
We are going to become a church that is full of people who are talking the gospel to business, education, government, media, entertainment, family, and the church.
No longer do we see Sunday morning as the only time to do ministry. It’s every day of the week, baby.
Who’s ready for this? Ready or not, here we go. We are no longer the church we used to be. We are refined and refocused. God has great plans for us and we are going to fulfill them.
I’ve invited our small groups director, Chris Wills, to help make the vision plain. He’s going to take everything I just talked about and make it practical for you.
I’ve asked him to explain what it looks like to serve in each of the seven mountains. He is also going to reveal the strategy for how we are going to accomplish this.