This past weekend was my church’s 5th annual Fall Retreat up at Camp Shamineau. Even though it rained most of Saturday, we had a great time. We spent most of our time playing games, climbing around the high ropes course, eating way too much food and staying up too late, but we also talked about where the Lord is leading Antioch this coming year.
Our theme was “Internally Strong, Externally Focused”. On Saturday morning Andy shared from John 17:20-23, where Jesus prays for the unity of future believers so that the world may know. The whole purpose of having strong community is to be a vehicle for the gospel into the world. To only have community with no mission would be like having a Maserati that never leaves the garage. If you got a brand new car, you wouldn’t invite people over to come sit in the garage; you would drive it around! So too we want to grow this year in using our community for the purpose of gospel mission in our neighborhood and world.
Sunday morning we spent some time worshipping and sharing what the Lord was doing in our lives, and what we wanted to see him do going forward. I was so impressed with my Antioch family. Even in a group of about 75 people, it felt incredibly intimate. Each person who shared was open and vulnerable about God’s hand in their lives and hearts. And on top of that, just about everyone shared something from Scripture that was currently convicting them and causing them to change something in their lives. As I listened to each person, I was overwhelmed by the maturity and humility our people have with handling the Word and their willingness to be led by it. I felt how I imagine a parent feels when they see their kids doing things they’ve been telling them about for years. Antioch really is growing up! *tear*
So as we look ahead to what the Lord wants to do in and through us this year, my prayer is that the solid community life we have at Antioch would not just be among ourselves, but would be externally focused on mission to those who still need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. May our hearts be overwhelmed with the reality of the lost, my our feet be quick to run to the aid of those who need Him most, and may we together as a family carry the transforming power of Jesus everywhere we find ourselves.
Amen. Now let’s get to work.