Inwardly strong, outwardly focused
by Mike Durbin
PLYMOUTH, MI – Legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, started the first day of the Green Bay Packers training camp in 1961 with a football in his right hand and these words:
“Gentlemen, this is a football.”
Those 38 professional players knew football. They were at the top of their game, but Lombardi reminded them that no matter how much one excels in speed, technique, or performance, the football is at the center of the game.
Easter reminds us that it’s all about the Gospel. The heart of our faith is the resurrected Lord Jesus. His Lordship is forever demonstrated in the resurrection. Darkness could not conceal Him. Demons could not constrain Him. Death could not contain Him. He is the resurrected Lord of Lords and King of Kings! Resurrection Sunday reminds us of the fundamental hope of the Gospel: “He is not here. He Is RISEN!”
Through repentance and faith in the resurrected Jesus, we receive forgiveness for our sins and the gift of eternal life. It’s the ultimate “Good News.” We receive it in an instant, but we spend a lifetime living out its truths. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the message of hope for a broken world. Jesus commissions us to “make disciples of all nations”. It’s a commission that unites us all as we advance His Kingdom together.
Below are resources to help churches take their next step to accelerate Gospel movement:
1. WhosYourOne.com is a resource that 62,220 people are using as of this writing to pray for their loved ones who need Jesus. Multiple “Who’s Your One” resources are available to help churches conduct a prayer emphasis including a free 30-day prayer guide. In it, you will find Scripture-based prayers to pray over someone who needs Jesus. It’s a great tool to equip believers to pray for their loved ones to come to Jesus this Easter season.
2. Equipping God’s people to share the Good News of the Gospel is vital to Kingdom advance. A plethora of training resources are available, but it might be advisable for a church to choose one resource that fits the local context and use it to equip the church. Creating, or recreating, an evangelist culture in the church is challenging. The best resource is one that is used. That being said, we recommend churches consider using “3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide.” A free resource kit is available at: https://www.namb.net/evangelism#free-tools.
3. Evangelism grants up to $1000 are available to assist cooperating BSCM churches to engage their communities with the Gospel. These grants are possible through our partnership with the North American Mission Board and the thousands of churches that give through the Cooperative Program. The purpose is to help churches impact their communities with the Good News. Go to https://www.bscm.org/grants to find out more and submit a grant request.
“Inwardly strong, outwardly focused” is a refrain that echoes in my mind as I think about the mission of the Lord’s church to make disciples. It’s the ultimate declaration of outward focus in that its reach is everyone, everywhere, in every generation. Jesus’ commission goes on to say: “Teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” Here is the picture of His church growing inwardly strong as disciples learn and follow Jesus’ teaching together. It’s always inwardly strong, outwardly focused, and never either-or. Growing deeper in Christ and broader in reach go hand in hand.
Hope has a name - Jesus - and everyone needs Him. Happy Easter!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.