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Playing To Win? Focus On The Mission

I love playing strategy games. RISK is a favorite as is SETTLERS OF CATAN. I love the thrill of winning - and so do my opponents. If I ever forget that they want to win as much as I do OR if I forget what it takes to ACTUALLY WIN then I've begun losing already.

(Photo Credit: Elisa Stapp. Left to Right: Joshua Stapp, Caleb Stapp, Elizabeth Stapp, Luke Sinclair, & Rebekah Stapp. Taken in August, 2011 on a youth mission trip to Rathdrum, ID.)

You see, both RISK and SETTLERS have things you can do within the game that, if done as part of accomplishing your mission, will help you win. But if you forget your overall purpose you might be happily conquering an unimportant country or trading sheep when your opponent becomes the champion.

Our mission from God works the same way. We have an opponent who wants to win. In fact, he wants to destroy us. And if we forget our primary mission or get distracted by the mini-objectives (that can help us win if used correctly) we might be happily having church but we'll be wasting our lives and we'll miss getting to do our part in God's mission: making disciples of Jesus.

THIS IS WHY one of the longest series on our preaching calendar this year is focused on how we make disciples. Because THAT'S the win. (Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out begins Feb. 11th: Join the Book Club!)

THIS IS WHY we say "No" to other church programs that, while good, would distract us from the spiritual conversations we need to be having with our friends and neighbors.

THIS IS WHY we CONSTANTLY focus on reaching out to the lost and the hurting.

THIS IS WHY we focus ALL of our resources on engaging people in three environments: Worship, Small Group, and Discipleship Triads. Those are our BEST answer RIGHT NOW for how to help people become disciples of Jesus.

And when I play a strategy game I have a primary strategy that helps me win over and over again. In EVERY game I play.

Distract the player, win the game.

That's all it takes. If I can distract or misdirect my opponent away from the point of the game I will win eventually. In RISK I get my opponents to attack each other. In SETTLERS I encourage frivolous building projects or silly goals that don't matter.

Distract the player, win the game.

The devil, our opponent, has the same strategy. He will do whatever he can to keep us from making disciples. He will divide, he will distract, he will happily let us have whatever we think success is AS LONG AS IT ISN'T MAKING DISCIPLES!

We aren't the general - Jesus is - so we don't get to decide what the mission is. But we do get to implement our general's strategy and put all of our resources towards accomplishing HIS mission.

So do we want to win? I do.

What's distracting you from being a disciple who makes disciples?

What distractions should we watch out for as a church?

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