In our mission as Crosswinds, our mission to Know God and Make Him Known, I believe it’s crucial to understand the role of character and calling in our lives as individuals and as a church family. Knowing God and making Him known at the core is about connecting with God and others, desiring they connect with the Lord. We begin with character.
Character is the unique qualities impressed by nature or habits on a person, distinguishing one person from another. Our word character comes from a Greek word for an engraved mark made by a tool. It has become a reference to a symbol or imprint on one’s soul. Character is demonstrated in actions, but true character resides in the heart. Christian character begins with faith in Christ and grows as we cooperate with the Spirit’s work in our life, making us more like Christ in character (sanctification).
Jesus is sharing the Sermon on the Mount, specifically talking about love, when He declares, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 4:48). This call to perfection can be pretty unnerving, especially if we don’t understand precisely what we are really being called to be perfect in. The perfection spoken of here is character. Who is our model for perfect character? Christ! We won’t be flawless in this life, but we can aspire to be as much like Christ as possible. Christ calls all of His followers to have a character that rises above mediocrity and to mature in every area, becoming like Him and partnering with His Spirit to accomplish His mission. This is our calling.
Christ’s calling on believers connotes the ultimate destiny of believers as well as their participation in His continuing mission here on earth. Far too many believers focus on the destination (paradise) while avoiding the journey, which is living on mission with Christ. The mission of each and every believer is found in some of the last words Christ spoke to His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20). Christ’s last words to His disciples was to go, and in your going grow in the Lord, making disciples who make disciples(see also: Mark 16:15; Lk 24:45-49; John 20:21; Acts 1:8). Disciple making is a core purpose of the church and every believer who makes up the church.
Jesus’ strategy for increase is addition through discipleship at the local level within the church. His plan for multiplication to the ends of the earth is by starting new “faith families” worldwide. What does this look like? Just like the multiplication of a biological family provides a new context for the addition of individuals, each multiplication of a church provides a new context for addition via disciple making at the local level. This is God’s call on each and every one of us. God’s call is for us to be disciple multipliers.
As Crosswinds, we have a vision framework that speaks to our character and calling. It is made up of our mission, strategy, values, and measures to make disciples who make disciples, small groups that reproduce small groups, campuses creating other campuses, churches planting churches, and movements for Christ producing other movements for the Lord. This framework is impossible if we are not found in Christ and growing in Christ (know God). It’s impossible if we are not living on mission with Christ (Make Him known).
The simple truth is that we need to be connected to God and, for Heaven’s sake, others. We, believer’s need to grow in Christlike character. Again, Christ calls all of His followers to have a character that rises above mediocrity and to mature in every area, becoming like Him and partnering with His Spirit to accomplish His mission. We, believer’s need to be committed to our calling. It is the formation of our character and understanding of our calling that assists us to righty connect with God and others until all have the repeated opportunity to respond to Christ’s love and salvation. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!