Mike D and I were having a conversation a few days ago about our 8th Street Mission and how God keeps validating the work we’re called to. The discussion led to Francis Chan and Alan Hirsch and if they stopped in one day what would be the first question out of their mouths about 8th Street?
“Jeff, what programs do you have in place?” Francis Chan might ask.
Followed by, “Are you cultivating an apostolic imagination and practice for the 21st century?” from Alan Hirsch.
Francis Chan asking that question? Yeah, no.
Okay, Alan Hirsch probably would ask his, but he wouldn’t be concerned with much that looks like the American church of today. Both men are pouring into the church as a whole and many would argue for the survival of our Christian faith.
Because we’ve stopped serving the biblical definition of the lost and poor and find ourselves drawn to the next trendy thought, program or celebrity pastor to run our church and more disturbingly, our walk with God.
So, where does this leave the lost and poor that Jesus talked about? It leaves them lost and poor and without a church that loves them.
Over the last year God has orchestrated a powerful movement in our local mission field. So much so, that dozens of differing churches and organizations have been drawn to the 8th Street Mission just wanting to be a part of what we’re doing. People pour in daily with this bright-eyed look on their faces just like the one we all had when we realized that salvation was our new truth and ask, “How can we help?”
Seeing this, church leadership has approached and asked what it is that we’re doing?
Typically, our reply is that we have no idea what we’re doing, we just show up and God does the rest. However, that’s not true, we do know what we’re doing. I say this with no pride or haughtiness, just unbounded honesty.
It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ lived out. It’s that simple and that complex.
There’s no fancy programming, methodology or seven habits of highly successful preachers, it’s just a bunch of broken and desperate men and women sharing the love of Christ the way he said to show it.
That’s why people are drawn to it and that’s why we’re called to it.
So why wouldn’t the church support that?
Hugh Halter might say, “It’s because broken and icky people make the pew sitters uncomfortable.”
This is not an indictment of the church, corporate or otherwise because we are all alumni and the church is responsible for us going farther and deeper in the holy word of God. I just think we’ve lost our way somewhere on the journey.
We have come to realize that a part of this new ride at 8th Street is to disciple dozens of gospel driven, God led cottage industries and somehow show them with one goal in mind, his kingdom.
And to model the gospel of Jesus Christ each day in our lives, as we love the church that sent us, the believers that don’t understand us, the lost and poor that Jesus shared with us, and toss away the next hip thing for the gospel that changed us.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
My challenge to you is to join us at 8th Street and if you can bring Alan Hirsch and Francis Chan with you—we could use the help.