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Issachar Initiative

You may have heard about this.  I’m just becoming aware of it, but I’m looking forward to learning more.  I’ll be attending the summit in Dallas, TX on October 7th, so I’ll share more soon.

It’s an exciting effort to unite the church around the call to “Count for Zero”…  The idea is that the vast majority of believers and churches plan to and want to reach the unreached people’s of the world, to fulfill the Great Commission, and yet we spend nearly 100% of our time and gifts from God on ourselves or on communities where the Gospel has already been shared time and time again.  Believe me, I’ll continue to always trumpet the need to do exactly that, to preach the Gospel to the United States and beyond generation after generation, and yet, we have to get out into the neighborhoods and communities where the Gospel has not yet been preached.  This initiative is exciting because it’s a teaming together of or “ground surge” as is described in the Week One material, a joining of efforts among believers around the world to make this a reality as much as is possible in our era.  Humanly speaking, this is as good a time as ever, and God has allowed for tools and passionate believers to be on-board more than ever.

There is another smaller but growing movement that I’m a part of called AllThere.  There will be a few of those who have been involved in this growing effort at the Dallas Issachar summit on October 7th.  Please pray for us as we join together and pray and discuss how we might join efforts with the Issachar Initiative.  AllThere is something I’ll write about more as time goes by, but it complements the Issachar Initiative well.  What we don’t want is just more branding and hype and no action.  People quickly disengage when branding and trigger terms are thrown around, but others are helped by some degree of trigger terms and simple language.  Bear with me in the coming months as I seek to communicate on two similar lines of thought – the deeper biblical perspective of the unseen spiritual call of God to go and make disciples becoming a reality among and through believers as well as the external activities of leaders around the world and how they are seeking to make this happen.  The exciting thing is that market-place leaders, business owners and non-profit leaders, are banding with leaders of small, medium, and large churches to work together.  Many new non-profits are forming, and you may have your opinions on the non-profit para-church organization movement and the local church-planting movements and the denominational circles.  The exciting thing about some of these banding together efforts is the simple obedience to Christ in it all.  We get nervous around unity efforts for both good and bad reasons.

A good reason is the fear of key leaders falling in one way or another and their reputation coloring the reputation of everyone else involved in this or that initiative.  I get that, and that is something to think on and pray over.  I’ll briefly challenge that fear though with the power of our God’s love and the unsinkable nature of our hope in Christ and His death for us.  Hope keeps us afloat like no other resource that God has given us.  Love is our continual response to His love, but hope is a buoyancy device for the believer like non-other.  So, let’s hope in Christ through the failings of each other, and let’s just plan on knowing that some of us will get bad reputations for seasons or even a lifetime.  If we’re humble in our response, life will go on and our usefulness together as believers will continue.  Amazingly, God put the Great Commission into our hands to fulfill under the care with the continual guidance of His Spirit through His Word in the joy of Christian fellowship.

A bad reason to get nervous around movements like these is jealousy.  I feel it in myself easily when I see someone else’s success.  I’m a proud boy, and God is working on me to see how awesome He really is and how I should leap for joy at the progress of the Gospel however it makes its way through this world to soften hard hearts and bring thousands at a time or one at a time to a saving knowing of Jesus Christ.  Let’s fall on our faces together as believers like Ezekiel and pray for a broadening repentance throughout this world, an advance of the Gospel like we’ve never seen!  I’ve read recently an old negative saying that 50% of people expect you to fail and the other 50% want you to fail.  The awesome thing about our God is that He isn’t going to fail.  He’s going to get the message out to the whole world whether any one of us is on board, so if you can’t beat Him why not join Him?!  I know that’s kind of a trite way of saying this, but He is God.  If He’s God, why do we keep resisting His amazing GRACE and why don’t we just submit to the joyous calling on our lives to spread the Gospel by combining our hearts to fulfill the primary task left to us as His Church.

The exciting thing about efforts like this Issachar Initiative is that it’s not about dropping your current vocation per se.  The same goes for AllThere.  We’re not trying to get everyone to get out of the work force in the US for instance.  Far from it.  We are seeking to submit to Christ and enjoy the amazing experience of Christian fellowship where HONORING ONE ANOTHER is a constant activity.  When we do this, we begin finding out how beautiful God’s grace is as it is at work in the lives of those around us.  We become less narcissistic and anxious about others’ thoughts of us and our usefulness in the Kingdom and more passionate about simply following hard after Christ together.  We’re far less critical when we’re all looking at the King for our marching orders.  Until Christ returns, this life will be trying and we’ll have messes and sin and mistakes and sorrows, but in the midst of all of that, we have this awesome gem to behold and respond to together called Jesus Christ, the actual person Himself, and His work on the cross = The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When we say and meditate on The Gospel of Jesus Christ, those are the two things we’re meditating on: Jesus and His death on the cross.

More to come, friends.  I’ll share what I learned at the summit soon.  Thanks for bearing with a longer than usual post.

– Torrey

P.S. Thanks again, Tom, for the photos!

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