CORE VALUE 2 | Conversion
Remember that Illumine’s mission statement is:
Illumine exists so that Christ may shine brilliantly on you, in you, and through you. | Ephesians 5:13-20
We engage people in the discipleship cycle of worship (rest), education (growth), and community service (exertion) and help them grow via the Gospel in the cycle medium.
Remember also that the plan and mission only lead us so far – there are decisions that must be made about the practical forms of ministry. To make these, we look to a set of core values.
Today’s core value is all about the word “you” in the mission statement.
1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
Describe the mood of this Psalm. Why would it be written with this perspective?
Is this your perspective? When has your joy been stolen, and your jubilant song quieted?
The final sentence of the psalm might seem out of place. Can you justify its existence?
THESIS & SUPPORT
Illumine exists to find the unchurched and de-churched. We make decisions based not on those who have been here longest, but on those who are not here yet.
If Illumine, through its organization and community, is not finding and bringing the gospel to the unchurched and the dechurched, we are failing.
As such, the only reason to do or decide anything is for the sake of the lost soul.
Since the fall into sin, this is also the God's main goal.
Everything in Scripture will reaffirm this goal because everything in Scripture affirms the will of God.
There is no tragedy more devastating to this organization and community than the soul that dies in unbelief.
Mark 2:17 | 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Luke 11:52 | 52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
Acts 15:19 | 19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God."
It might be worth your time to look up these three passages and read their context. What’s going on that these things are said? What can we learn from them?
1 Corinthians 8:1-3, 9, 12 | 1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God.
9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
12 But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
Pet peeves time! What are you church related pet peeves – things people do or churches do that you do not care for?
1 Corinthians 8:19-23 | 19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 10:23 | 23 “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
If these are Paul’s goals, what aren’t Paul’s goals?
Imagine a spectrum, and on that spectrum, a single point. That point is conversion. Every person ever is somewhere on that spectrum. Some can move along it, some cannot (at some point they could, but now they're dead.) That point is very important because when a person is on the correct side of it, they're headed to heaven. If they're on the wrong side of it, they're headed to hell. It's really difficult to stress the importance this point on this spectrum. It's starvation versus contentment, it's suffocation versus breathing, it’s despair versus hope.
Because of the importance of this point, Illumine makes decisions that intentionally favor those who are on the wrong side of the point. God's Word is the thing that helps them move forward on that line – in fact, it is the only thing that helps any person who is able to move on that spectrum move forward.
On the other side of that idea, a lack of or ignoring God's Word is exactly the only thing that moves a person backwards on that line. Since Illumine doesn't write God's Word (just tries to stick to it and teach it) Illumine wouldn't ever change or adjust God's Word.
There are aspects of ministry, however, that God has given to the people in his churches, placing them under their control and using the decisions they make with them to serve those who don't know the Word. These are sometimes called “style decisions.” They can also include method decisions. By understanding the people that need to know God, styles and "outer things" can be adjusted so that outward barriers can be taken away.
This isn't consumerism. This isn't manipulation. This is service. In the same way that you choose to speak English to English speakers and Spanish to Spanish speakers because you care that the message is heard, Illumine makes decisions that help ministry offerings speak the language of the people to whom they are being offered, especially if those people are on the wrong side of conversion.
This core value can be thought of in terms of norms, since it typically ends up both violating and following norms of one kind or another. When this principle is applied, norms of cultural Christianity, Lutheranism, or "church" may be violated. Committees that typically exist in churches may not. Ways of speaking about teachings that typically happen in Lutheranism may be adjusted to communicate more clearly with an unbelieving audience.
While this principle may, to a person who grew up in a certain kind of church, seem to lead to chaos at Illumine, it actually serves to lead to greater consistency in the way Illumine runs. Worship, Education, and Community Service events are all treated equally, as events, to communicate to people that they are all the same, even though you may have grown up thinking of the manifestations of these varying foci as essentially different. (That's just an example.)
This idea is summed up with the pithy saying: "Make decisions not based on those who have been here the longest, but on those who are not here yet." To reiterate, this does not apply to Biblical teachings, but only to those parts of ministry that God has not clearly defined in his Word. It is also extremely important to remember that this principle is a means of serving others, not an excuse for serving yourself.