mission

Rick Warren opened his bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, with these words, “It’s not about you.” Warren was talking about purpose and mission in life. He’s right.

Since the beginning of summer, I’ve been preaching from the book of Proverbs. The last several weeks I’ve dealt with several convicting subjects according to the book of Proverbs: pride, words, and anger. You can listen to the podcasts of recent sermons by searching for Wilkesboro Baptist wherever you find podcasts or by visiting our podcast page here: https://www.wilkesborobaptist.org/podcasts.

That sentence, “It’s not about you” covers the basic truth behind the character and virtue that the book of Proverbs is attempting to teach us.

We live in a “have it your way” culture where advertising, marketing, and media are aimed at making your life more convenient or happier. Just observe the self-help section in a bookstore or watch carefully the next set of commercials on television. If you listen to the subtle (or not so subtle) messaging, then it is easy to think that everything is about us. If I want a new car, then I deserve one. If I want to fit in, then I must have the newest iPhone. If I want to have a happy lunch, then I’ll get it “my way.”

I don’t mean to pick on advertising and marketing so much. It is just an illustration of a far deeper problem with humanity.

Let’s just take the subjects of the last three sermons I preached: pride, words, and anger. The vice of pride tells us that everything is about us. And when our pride is damaged, we act out. Our words are not necessarily good or bad, but most often they are about us. It is so easy to get caught up in the I, me, mine culture where everything I communicate in spoken or written word is about me. Think social media. If you want a convicting exercise, look back through your social media feeds and reread your posts. How many of them are about you? How many times did you write, “I,” “me,” or “mine.” And then there is anger. Most of the time, my anger is caused by something or someone that doesn’t match my expectations. I get angry when “I’m” impatient, frustrated, disappointed, etc. Essentially, these three topics are symptomatic of self-absorbed thinking.

We need to tell ourselves over and over again, “It’s not about me.”

If it’s not about us, then what on earth are we here for? In short, we’re here as reflections of the Creator. God made us in his image, for his glory, to accomplish his purpose. God made us to make us like Jesus (Romans 8:29).

To put it one way, we exist to lead our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus. At Wilkesboro Baptist, we do this by worshiping, learning, serving, and replicating. These steps are good reminders that life is not about us.

In worship, we focus our attention on the Lord who is worthy of our praise. In true worship, our preferences and desires take a back seat to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ.

In learning, we humble ourselves to be taught. As followers of Christ, we realize that we are on a journey to learn more about God, ourselves, our world, others, and our mission.

In serving, we put others first. Instead of being consumers of church culture, we are servants of others. We give our time, talents, and tithes as investments into the lives of others: be it people in our church, community, or across the world.

In replicating, we realize that the mission of making disciples is our priority. To replicate is to reproduce the life of Christ in someone else. We can’t replicate the life of Christ in someone else if the life of Christ is not the controlling presence in our own lives. And if we live each day as if it is about us, then we are actively working against the purpose of Christ in our own lives.

Is your life about you? If your behaviors, habits, and decisions say “Yes,” then maybe it’s time for some life analysis.

This message series has been convicting to me as well. Over the past several weeks, God has reminded me of ways where I have behaved as if my life is about me. May we learn to follow Christ and let the life of Christ live within us.

May Paul’s affirmation to the Galatians be true of us:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

Galatians 2:2O

Photo by Ben Robbins on Unsplash

At Wilkesboro Baptist, we’ve identified our mission as leading our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus. We do this by worshiping, learning, serving, and replicating.

Worship, learn, and serve are pretty obvious, right?

  • To worship is to give God the appropriate attention, glory, and praise due his name. With regard to our church’s mission, to worship means that we commit to worshiping together in our regular worship services.
  • To learn is to recognize that in our role as disciples, we are learners. We learn from God’s Word, prayer, and especially as we gather in groups (Sunday School and Discipleship Groups), to study and apply God’s Word.
  • To serve is to give our time, energy, and resources for the benefit of others and the accomplishment of God’s mission. When we meet a need, visit someone who is hurting, lead a class, or join with a mission partner, we are fulfilling our obligation to serve.

But what does it mean to replicate? In short, to replicate means to reproduce a replica or likeness in someone or something else. Ultimately, this is the goal of our biblical mission. Making disciples is replicating the life of Jesus in someone else. When I teach someone how to follow Jesus by worshiping, learning, and serving, then I’m replicating the life of Jesus in them. When I share ministry responsibilities with others, and we work together to fulfill God’s mission in our church, then I’m replicating the life of Jesus in them.

In the coming couple of weeks, we’re going to model our mission to you as a congregation. I’m going to replicate in my preaching ministry.

God has blessed Wilkesboro Baptist Church with some fine staff members and excellent communicators. Our Associate Pastor, Tad Craig and Minister of Communications, Gary Buffaloe are gifted preachers. But God has also sent some younger ministers to us. Over the summer our pastoral staff have gathered with some young men God has called to ministry to help them grow in their calling and service to the Lord. And in the next two weeks, depending on the service you attend for worship, you will get a chance to hear them preach.

Here’s the preaching schedule for the next couple of weeks: 

  • Tad Craig will preach on Wednesday, July 21 at our 6:00 PM worship service and also preach the 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM services on Sunday July 25.
  • Josh Pinkerton will preach the 11:00 AM service on Sunday July 25. 
  • Gary Buffaloe will preach on Wednesday, July 28 at our 6:00 PM worship service and will also preach the 9:30 am service on Sunday August 1.
  • Shawn Dubose will preach the 8:00 AM service on August 1.
  • Hudson Myers will preach the 11:00 AM service on August 1.

Josh Pinkerton is the son of Dr. Joe and Doreen Pinkerton. He grew up at Wilkesboro Baptist and is currently earning a Masters degree toward Christian Counseling.

Hudson Myers is the son of Madeline Myers. He also grew up at Wilkesboro Baptist and is currently at Gardner Webb University earning a Bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry. Hudson is serving a pastoral internship at our church this summer.

Shawn Dubose is a recent church member. He was one of my students at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. He will finish Fruitland in September and is planning to attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in the new year.

Over these two weeks Josh, Hudson, and Shawn, as well as Tad and Gary will get the opportunity to preach at what I think is one of the finest churches in America. Our pastoral staff will be listening to their sermons and critiquing them after they preach with the goal of helping them learn. (Incidentally, Josh, Hudson, and Shawn have been critiquing my sermons recently to my great benefit).

This schedule takes the pressure off Josh, Hudson, and Shawn to preach for recording (our Wednesday services) as well as having to preach multiple times. When I return to preach in August, I will continue our Walk Wisely series in the book of Proverbs for another number of weeks.

  • Would you pray for Tad, Gary, Josh, Hudson, and Shawn as they preach in the coming weeks?
  • Would you pray for rest and renewed energy for myself as I take a week away with my family?
  • Would you pray for our congregation to respond to what I believe will be Spirit-filled preaching over the next weeks?
  • Would you pray that we will embrace this picture of replication in living out our mission?

Photo by Alexander Michl on Unsplash