by Faith Morgan
“True growth only comes through scattering and gain only comes by losing. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true,” said sending church pastor J.D. Greear of Summit Church in Raleigh, N.C., keynote speaker for the opening session of the 2015 Send North America Conference. “Jesus’ promises about the greatness of the church were always tied to sending. He always focused on leaders being raised up and sent out, not an audience being gathered in and counted.”
It’s a strange message, Greear said,—become empty to be filled, die to live. But the blank check, the empty box, the life on mission, they’re all things that are available to be filled in by something—or Someone—greater.
“The call to leverage your talents and life for the Great Commission is included in the Great Commandment,” said Greear. “Why not get a job in a place that is strategic?”
The Summit Church saw 153 members leave last year to launch their 24th and 25th domestic church plants. Another 210 of their members live overseas working with church plants.
“I was honestly scared to give away too much from our church,” said Greear, who used John 12:20-25 to emphasize his points. “True growth only comes by scattering. Jesus’ promises of the greatness of the kingdom are always about sending, not gathering.
“Jesus’ promises are nothing short of staggering. It is to your advantage that I leave. Can you imagine? … The Spirit of God filling every believer is an advantage over Jesus remaining. The greater works that Jesus promised are realized when ordinary believers are sent out and multiply.
“’So called’ ordinary people who live on mission–they are the tip of the gospel spear.”
Greear concluded with three obstacles that keep churches from practicing the principles of sending:
- Our personal ambitions
“How dare we compete with Jesus for the loyalty of the Church? Pastors, before He called us to a platform, He called us to an altar
- False measurement of success.
“This might be the weakness of the Southern Baptist Convention–it is the lack of raising up leaders. When we get good at making disciples again sending will take care of itself.”
“The world is changed by people with the same characteristic. They attempt great things for God because they believe great things of God.”
Faith Morgan is a writer for the North American Mission Board.