At BPCC, our mission is ‘to make growing disciples of Jesus Christ through gospel-centred and Spirit empowered worship, community, service and mission’. We therefore created a ‘discipleship pathway’ to help us achieve this disciple-making mission: Connect through Jesus, grow in Jesus, serve like Jesus and go with Jesus. This is a clear process for us to follow as we seek to make fully-formed followers of Christ.

One of the mistakes we can make, however, is to make each step absolutely distinct and separate in someone’s discipleship journey. People are complex and won’t necessarily follow one step neatly before entering the next. Someone might encounter God (Connect) and immediately begin to tell others about Jesus in their workplace (Go), but aren’t yet part of a Growth Group (Grow), for example. People are complex, and our journeys are different.

One of the things that I think go hand-in-hand is community (Connect) and mission (Go). Events and food and all of those good things can help us ‘connect’ with one another, but I would argue that nothing has created deeper relationships with others faster in my life than the common goal of mission. Think about it. A common mission or goal creates strong bonds between people. This is why people often discover community at their local football club – they set out to win the season, pursue it together – and in the process they bond and become closer. Mission creates community!

The church has a grand mission to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20), to go through all the earth bearing witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8). We have an outward focus. When we are inwardly-focused, trying to create the perfect community for us to enjoy – I think we tend to lose it. But when we have an outward focus, trying to reach those who don’t know Christ – I think we tend to find ourselves in a beautiful community. When we’re encouraging each other in the mission of God we don’t have time to bicker about the translation of our Brother or Sister’s Bible (ESV for the win?). We are focused on loving those outside of our community – thinking of creative ways to build relationships with them and share the good news of Jesus!

I encourage you to use the connect events this year to encourage others in the mission of God. Share stories about the challenges and the victories you are having in mission and partner with one-another in prayer and encouragement.