Filter By:
in Blog

Mission Brings Health

main image

By: Elisha Lawrence

The statement "Mission Brings Health" may not sound provocative to you, but it does to me. I heard it recently from a group of church planters at a conference.  The reason it was so provocative to me is that in a genuine sense I experienced the opposite.

While I grew up in a Christian home and learned a lot of things, I think I became a Christian just before college. The start of my spiritual growth was undoubtedly through college while being involved with a campus ministry.

The thing that got me hooked on Christianity was honestly the mission. I was amazed that God drew people to Himself. Not having seen a lot of people outside the church world come to know Christ before college, I was blown away when I saw it firsthand.

In college, I was around people who routinely talked with their friends about Christ. They initiated friendships with people they didn’t know with the hope of sharing Christ with them. And I was both terrified of it and inspired. I wanted to see God work. I wanted Him to use me.

So I threw myself into college ministry with reckless abandon. And God taught me so much through what has now been 14 years of ministering to college students.

And while mission most certainly brought health to my life — a passion to learn about Christ, a desire to share the gospel, daily discipline of spending time with the Lord — it revealed a darker side of my heart too.

Part of me was inspired by God’s Word. Scripture like Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 9:36-38, Colossians 1:28-29 and 2 Timothy 2:2 were life verses. I genuinely did want God to work both in my life and in the life of others. I also wanted praise, honor, and recognition.

When I heard people share their testimonies and they mentioned a person who led them to Christ, I longed for someone to talk about me like that.

My fantasies were about having generations of people who traced back their spiritual lineage to my name. While mission did bring some health to me, it also revealed a deep-seated selfish ambition in my heart.

I used the mission of God to try to be like God. And as a result, I crashed physically. After 11 years, I was exhausted and felt a deep uneasiness that I couldn’t figure out. I didn’t want to pull out of mission altogether, but I felt like I couldn’t keep going.

I thank God that He is a gracious God who reveals sin in our hearts. And I’m thankful to God for men who spoke into my life as I processed through my spiritual and emotional fatigue. I had mentors in Campus Outreach and City Church who patiently worked with me and a sweet wife who endured my daily ups and downs.

Truth be told, I don’t think my problem was necessarily being on mission. I just neglected a vital reality of being on mission and that’s being filled with the Spirit of God. It’s not that I wasn’t reading Scripture and praying regularly. I was. It’s not that I wasn’t reading Scripture or involved in a community group. I was.

I was practicing all the spiritual disciplines that I still believe are vital to spiritual growth and I was growing. However, even in that growth, I do think I was missing a vital connection with the living God. And that is what scares me when I hear that mission brings health.

When I think about City Church and our mission statement, “Gospel Change for Broken People on Purpose,” I am deeply thankful to be part of this church.

God does 100% call us to live lives on mission with Him. God is a missionary God who fills people with His Spirit and uses us to take the gospel to people. He wants us to be counselors, evangelists, and friendly neighbors. He wants us to take a deep interest in other people and their spiritual well-being.

But as we do that, we also must recognize our brokenness. Because I’ve seen the darkness of my own heart, I’m different as I go out on mission. Because I realize that God is still on a mission to change my heart, I know I’m not the finished project.

It’s kind of funny, but mission did bring health to me ultimately. Seeing that my heart can take even a good thing like serving the Lord and turn it sinful reveals my desperate need for the Lord to be with me.

I can’t do mission without Him. I can’t do anything without Him. My adequacy is from God (2 Cor 3:5). Apart from Him, I can do nothing (Jn 15:5). And knowing this, I can approach the call to be on mission with humility.

When I share the gospel, it isn’t just something for those I talk with, but it’s for me too- And in this way mission truly does bring health!

Posted by Elisha Lawrence with
Tags: mission

Ordinary Togetherness

main image

By: Dustin Walker

Recently I’ve read two different books that brought up the same phrase:

Radical Individualism.

Radical Individualism is essentially the belief that an individual’s needs take precedence over the needs of the group. This is a worldview that most of us in America, whether we know it or not, tend to practice.

We make choices regarding education, career, spouse, where we will live, how we spend/save our money, etc. all based on what we believe is best for me.

I’m guilty of this, and I’m becoming increasingly aware that I’ve lived this way for pretty much my entire life. I’m pretty sure you are guilty of this too.

Yet, when I read my favorite books from the New Testament, especially Ephesians, I read about something that seems foreign but beautiful.

That’s where I start to understand that the pronouns are in the plural. Each ‘you’ I read in Ephesians isn’t talking about me. It is a ‘y’all’ that is talking to me in a group, in a community.

One could describe the community we read about in Ephesians and elsewhere as Ordinary Togetherness. What made it remarkable was the way in which the gospel motivated this kind of community and family-like behavior of people so different from one another.

I read things like:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

Rather than this being all about me being a piece of God’s craftsmanship, I am part of the overall craftsmanship God has created in the church. The good works he has for me are embedded in the good works he has for the church.

For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. (Eph. 2:14)

This verse is not about my personal salvation alone. It is not just about me on the outside of a wall looking in. It is about us being separated collectively from one another. But these boundaries have now been destroyed in Christ, and we have freedom together in Him.

In him, the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Eph. 2:21)

I am not personally a holy temple that I take care of with leafy green vegetables and high-intensity workouts. Rather, I’m a part of this holy temple whose spiritual health is mutually connected with others so that we might give praise to God through Jesus Christ.

Community groups are one rhythm we practice to call each other out of our radical individualism. But these groups are to serve as catalysts to ordinary togetherness, not as an artificial, programmatic substitute for it. What’s required then is for us to practice this community and togetherness in the average, everyday stuff of life. Here are some ways we can do just that.


Eat dinner with other people. This means if you’re single you’ll need to invite others over for dinner or essentially invite yourself over to eat dinner with someone else. And if you’re married and/or have kids, make a point to share your dinner table with others on a regular basis.

Think of the loneliness that would be abated if we simple did this one thing. Not to mention, it would break down some of the dividing walls between single individuals, college students, and families within our church family and even give our children a vision for what it will look like to follow Christ when they become college students and single working professionals.


What are some errands you need to do in the next week or even month? Why not involve others in that process? Grocery store shopping, car registration renewal, take your dog to the vet or planning for a birthday party. The possibilities here are endless.


What is a project that you’re working on right now or will be in the coming weeks? Whether it is fixing a leaky pipe, painting a room, having a yard sale, or moving to a new house or apartment, these are great opportunities to get help, to teach, and to care for one another.

For us to enjoy the wonderful benefits of the radical togetherness that Ephesians speaks to we must make intentional choices to reject our radical individualism. It will mean we must think about how to include others as Christ has included us. But that is kind of the whole point.

Posted by Dustin Walker with

12345678910 ... 5455