Please login to continue
Having Trouble Logging In?
Reset your password
Don't have an account?
Sign Up Now!
Sign Up for Free
Choose Password
Confirm Password

Thank you for registering with us.

Co-Mission Leads to Common Unity

Don’t get me wrong, I really like people, but being with people for long periods of time soon leads me to longing for the silence and solitude of my workshop and tools. And yet, as much as I like my time alone, I know that we were all created for community, and I am thankful that I am called to do life together with others. We all need rhythms of community and solitude, and so, we live in this tension.

Jesus never intended for us to live out our faith alone. We are called into discipling communities that make disciples, and how our faith is lived out with others is our greatest witness to the watching world. That was the focus of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:15-21 when he asked the Father to take care of his disciples, not just the first disciples but us as well:

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one… As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world… My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

In the past few years, this call to a healthy community witness has been threatened more than we could have imagined. We have felt the tensions and brokenness in friendships, families, teams, churches and in Multiply. As a pastor for twenty-one years, I’ve lived the highs and lows of spiritual community. I know that each one of us has felt that in various ways, and we’ve contributed to the highs and lows of others. Yet the call to live out our faith together remains. 

Our local church communities are where our spiritual gifts are discerned, called out, formed, and utilized to build up the body of Christ in maturity (Ephesians 4:11-13). Christ-centered community is the place where our stumbling transformation is shaped and tempered. It’s the place that perhaps causes us the most pain, and also the place that holds the greatest promise for healing, wholeness, and hope.

It’s ironic, however, that when we focus too much on community, it seems to crumble under the weight of so many expectations. Eventually, we become so inward focused that we get distracted by the brokenness more than the beauty. I agree with others who have said that community works better as a by-product of embracing a shared task. In our context, we might call it a co-mission that leads to common unity.
We know the Great Commission that Jesus gave to his disciples: “Go and make disciples of all nations… (Matthew 28:18). But before he gave that command, it says, “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted” (Matthew 28:16-17).

The disciples were down to eleven, and they struggled with doubt and denial. Even after being with Jesus for three years, they were a messy group, but they were still called to a great and remarkable co-mission together. 

The Book of Acts continues the story of the Holy Spirit working in the Church, but we know from the letters to the churches that it was still messy. Disciples doubted. Churches struggled. It was anything but easy. In fact, the story of the Church is filled with pain, sorrow, and brokenness, but also filled with so much hope, power, and possibility. Because Jesus also said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:21). He was with them, and he is with us today.

Our vision is together that the world may know Jesus. We are never called alone; it is a co-mission. From the very beginning, our agency has been about embracing togetherness in mission, including our bi-national cooperation as US and Canadian MB churches. We work together with local churches in both these countries and around the world, and we are committed to the co-mission of sending, going, praying, and giving. We work in teams of diversely gifted disciples, long-term missionaries, regional and national leaders, and are supported by faithful acts of prayer, storytelling, administration, and sacrifice. Together we are sending disciples on mission, developing missional leaders, and facilitating mission partnerships.

As a church-based agency, we want to join you—our churches—and work alongside you in the work God has called you to—called us to. We do it imperfectly, but we do it together.

In my own stumbling transformation, I have experienced burnout and brokenness. And yet Jesus has been so faithful in continuing the work in me and through me. The same is true for our broken families, churches, communities, and organizations. But let’s lift our eyes again, and follow Jesus into this great mission together, that the world may know Jesus through the cracked vessels that we are.

In his song called “Anthem”, poet and song writer, Leonard Cohen, wrote some well-known lyrics: “Ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering; there’s a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
The apostle Paul said it even better in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7: “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.”

My prayer is that we will continue together, to allow God’s light to flow through our cracks and brokenness, that the world may know Jesus.

more stories

related projects