First Steps: Know a Sending God

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I believe that God cares for the marginalized of society and desires that their hope be restored. The Church has the incredible opportunity to join in this mission as agents of God’s restoration and hope. We are called and sent by God to be co-laborers in this work. It’s the family business!

Before becoming a ‘sent’ people, however, the first step is to get to know the God who sends. The Bible may rightly be seen as a story of God sending.

  • God sends out God’s breath to order creation.
  • God sends Abraham and his descendants to be a blessing to the nations.
  • God sends Moses to rescue God’s people.
  • God sends Israel to the Promised Land.
  • God sends God’s word through Prophets to call His people to repentance.
  • God sends God’s Son to save the World.
  • God sends God’s Spirit to comfort, counsel, and guide the followers of Jesus.
  • God sends God’s Church to bear witness of His love to the ends of the earth.

This is just a sampling! Over and over again in the Bible we meet a God who sends. If we take the most basic definition of discipleship as becoming more and more like Jesus—who is the “exact representation of God’s being” (Hebrews 1:3)—then one thing we need to assess is our level of “sent-ness.” As individuals, as church leaders, and as a community of faith.

The knowledge of a God who sends us is a revolutionary thought for church leaders. Because we believe that God has and is going before us, God is able to accomplish the work of restoration, and God has equipped a missional people with everything they need to carry out the mission. In other words, this takes the seeming burden of Kingdom work out of our hands and places both the impetus and the execution of the mission of God in the hands of the one who is infinitely capable: The God who sends.

Because God is accomplishing the work of the Kingdom through those who are sent, we are responsible for being obedient to go. This calling may help church leaders go about doing the work of the ministry with joy, peace, freedom, and hope. These are the defining descriptors of a sent people who know the God who sends.

In this Advent season, we remember that God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save the world (John 3:17). To what people, place or context have you been sent by God to be a blessing or light? Name the people, place or context as specifically as possible and share with a friend.

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Austin Maxheimer has been involved in church planting and activating missional communities in Evansville, IN for the last eight years. He is currently serving as a Campus Pastor for One Life Church and doing neighborhood revitalization work. He is the co-author of From Couch to Community: Activating the Potential of Small Groups. Austin’s main interests include how to bring the gospel into the everyday lives of people and see the People of God join Him in His mission. He is a husband and father, loves active living, and believes hermeneutics can bring world peace.

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