One ministry concept that has gripped me in the last couple of years is that the church essentially only needs to promote one “program.” Rather than create all manner of programs into which church members can “get plugged in,” the church should encourage its people to get plugged in to their own Personal Mission Fields (more on the PMF concept here and here).
The main program Jesus left for us to promote and practice was to make disciples as we are going into our various areas of influence (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Having this mindset keeps us from thinking of professional missionaries as the only folks who serve on the front line of Kingdom advancement. Every disciple is called to be a missionary in the place God has put him, therefore every disciple serves on the front line.
I like the following thoughts that Tim Chester recently posted on his blog about a church that has allowed this frontline language to permeate their programming. We all share in one endeavor (one ‘program’), “even if that endeavor is pursued in different places.”
Mark Greene tells the story of a church who started talking about everyone’s ‘frontline’. ‘Everyone had a frontline – a place, a context where they felt that God was calling them to minister, so everyone could be involved.’ The church leader, Paul Pease, says:
A saying we frequently use here at Hook is ’surviving and thriving on the frontline (and the frontline is where we are most of the time).’ We are still totally convinced that the action is on our frontline, and we retreat twice a week behind the frontline for fellowship so as to encourage one another to get back out to the frontline once again to win people for Christ. I am really passionate about this and am convinced this is the purpose of the church and the best way to reach people with the glorious gospel.
Mark Greene comments: “The team here at LICC now uses the word ‘frontline’ in all our teaching on mission. It’s a term that honours every context and binds people together in shared endeavour, even if that endeavour is pursued in different places.”