Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
The Catch vision: To introduce the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere.
These final challenging words of Jesus to His disciples and the Catch vision are cut from the same cloth. They are global and all-inclusive. Matthew heard Jesus say, “make disciple of all nations” (or tribes of people), and Mark heard him say, “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). So our vision of introducing the gospel of welcome to everyone, everywhere, is right in line with this.
Marti created this vision statement and if you missed her challenge in last Friday’s Catch, I have copied it below to make it easy for you to get to, because everyone needs to read it. And more than once. I used to think this vision was unreachable — something to shoot for, but that we will never make — but Marti has always thought differently. She took it as a personal directive. And with the help of the Internet she believes it’s possible to reach everyone, everywhere. She believes it’s not only possible, it is what Jesus has called her personally to do.
This was a verse she was given in 1970 and the Internet was a vision she was given soon after, before she ever knew what the Internet was. It was a net like in a circus but with no poles and no beginning or end. She had no idea what this was until the world wide web became the world wide Net. Suddenly “everyone, everywhere” isn’t such an impossibility. Suddenly “everyone, everywhere” is just a click away.
And this vision is more than just introducing people to the gospel — most churches and Christian organizations would say that is their goal — but this gospel carries a message of grace turned outward: that is, God’s grace towards us, personally, turned into grace extended to everyone we know and meet. This is the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward — and it is also the part about making disciples.
Disciples are followers of Christ who extend grace to everyone without discrimination. Grace is undeserved favor. It is accepting others the way we were accepted by God, with all our sins and faults, our shortcomings and our mental and emotional baggage. It is learning about that grace: what it is and how far it goes. It’s everything that Jesus taught us about loving everyone including our enemies, and not judging, and forgiving, and being like children, and touching the poor, going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, not showing favoritism, seeking the last place instead of the first, and about abiding in Him like the branches abide in the vine, because apart from Him, we can do nothing. Imagine people like this everywhere. Would that not change the world?
(LAST FRIDAY’S CATCH)
Accountability Commission member Mike High said during a previous meeting that he loves my passion. That is because he and I are in alignment with the underlying passion of the Catch Ministry and its vision.
For me, the vision of the Catch is my ultimate passion. People tell me we cannot introduce the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere. I do not know what the Lord of Lords is telling them, but He said I could. (Matthew 28:19-20)
A vision is like a big idea. It is incredibly difficult to see through to the end. It takes an absurd amount of perseverance, proactivity and strategic decision-making, and a team that believes in the big picture. There is also an underlying ingredient that must exist to step into the ring and fight for the vision – it’s the magic that weaves everything together – it is courage.
The Catch vision is important enough that it is worth spending some serious time on. You will want to get away from everything you have to do – all the tasks that typically take up a day – and focus for a couple of hours on nothing other than the vision of the Catch so that you will come away with a crystal clear picture of where you want to ultimately be within this vision and what you want to accomplish on behalf of the Catch Ministry and personally through your participation in making real what we always believed we were told to do, “…go and make disciples of all nations (tribes of peoples)…”
This vision needs to energize and excite you even though it will probably be a little scary at the same time. I think the perfect vision usually looks impossible to those on the outside. It often ends up being your “why” and the “how” isn’t necessarily clear. That scares some people, but if you believe you can accomplish it and are willing to do whatever it takes, the specifics of how it will happen present themselves at the right time.
Think about the entrepreneur Scott Harrison from Clarity: Water. Mr. Harrison went from thinking only of himself and spiraling in a very bad direction to creating an organization that is 100% focused on helping others. Mr. Harrison didn’t just turn his life around – he and his team have made a major difference in the lives of over a million people throughout the world by providing them with clean drinking water.
What’s maybe most impressive is that Mr. Harrison has done this by thinking of his charity the way an entrepreneur would; he put Clarity: Water around his passion and a business need.
If there isn’t a need for the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward, our passion won’t be enough to make it happen; and if we are just filling a need but not passionate about what we are doing, our chances of failure (usually in the form of quitting before we have a chance to succeed) are much higher.
The biggest mistake we can make is give up before we have a real chance to succeed. Like any business venture, we must recognize the obstacles in order to overcome them and be realistic about what it takes to make this venture succeed.
This is why I am asking each member of the Catch Community to own the Catch Ministry’s vision and discover your passion about it. Solidifying the vision will help us get through the challenges that we are guaranteed to encounter in a small ministry/ business such as ours. The Catch vision is our “why.” It stands to reason we need to focus on why we are doing what we are doing, and, at the same time, have passion for the Ministry we are in. It will be infinitely easier to persevere when challenges come our way.
I can appreciate where we have been over these last few years, but I can see with a clearer focus where we are going and what is required, which begins with building vitally into all that we do now. It is essential we recognize that relevancy requires we anticipate our various audiences’ expectations, which are shaped by the most appropriate, real-time, dynamic experiences. It is, therefore, no longer about the audience’s loyalty to John. It’s about the Catch Ministry’s allegiance to its varying audiences and putting our ‘boots on the ground’ to introduce the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.