"All in: reverberated through our life as a church this year. I love the phrase. Not only is it a call to jump into membership, but it's also a call to jump all the way in with both feet into the beautiful mess which is New Testament church.
If you haven't realized it yet, being "all in" with any church is costly. It hurts to extend forgiveness when everything in me cries, "leave." It hurts to grieve with members who grieve. It takes swallowing my pride to say, "I'm sorry." And those are just the internal sacrifices required for us to continue to be us. Membership is no casual, momentary commitment. And these sacrifices extend beyond our relationships with one another.
Jesus also commissions His church into a costly mission bigger than us. Being "all in" with this community means being "all in" for all nations, just as we conclude each gathering with Jesus' words to go and make disciples among them. Even the word "fellowship" in the new Testament wasn't merely a relational word but carried commercial overtones similar to how we might use the word "stakeholders" today. Stakeholders enter into a business endeavor in such a way that they have a vested interest in the outcome. It hurts if the effort flops; it causes rejoicing if it succeeds. Stakeholders have so embedded themselves into the cause that they affect its outcome and are affected by the outcome. In a similar way, church membership means partnership for the sake of the mission: make disciples of all nations.
After all, could there be a greater cause in which to have a vested interest this side of eternity? Think with me: the stakes couldn't get higher for the nations, and the stakes couldn't be holier to Jesus.
The stakes couldn't be higher for the nations. One name under heaven saves. That's all. Peter boldly proclaimed this sobering truth in Acts 4 and eliminated all doubt when he said there is "salvation in no one else." Brook Hills, Jesus is not a way to be saved among many options. He is the only way to be saved. And our mission is to get His name within earshot of people who've never heard of Him in a language they can understand. If there exists one name worthy to save, every sacrifice to get that name to the nations becomes worthwhile.
The stakes couldn't be holier to Jesus. Our global mission strategy is not merely focused on the nations' initial embrace of the gospel. As glorious as that day is, another embrace compels us: the final day when these startup churches' faith turns to sight, and we witness the distance closed between Jesus and their blood-bought souls in unhindered union, forever. That will be the crowning joy of our labors this side of eternity. Paul, himself, the pioneering missionary, was driven by this jealous zeal to present the church as a pure bride adorned for her husband (2 Cor. 11:1-3, Col. 1:28-29). It is for that embrace we labor and strive.
No more sacred, lasting, or loving cause is known to man. To spend and be spent in this endeavor is nothing less than the blessed life. And we get to do this together - in the church.
A people all in go all out for that cause. This magazine features stories of costly sacrifices that have been made by fellow stakeholders at Brook Hills. Some go. Others pray. All give to what we call the Global Offering. This fund fuels gospel-advancing endeavors among the nations and allows us to invest in global leadership development. We hope these snapshots from our body stir fresh sacrifices of both veteran members at Brook Hills and newer members among us. We all have something at stake.
With stakes this high and this holy, how will you be freshly resolved to be all in for all nations?