Summary: A description of the strategy of a church committed to these three purposes: love God, love the church, love the Lost.

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When more than a million Allied soldiers gathered on British soil at the beginning of 1944, their mission was clear: Beat the Nazis. But how was that going to happen? Churchill’s idea was to storm the beaches of ITALY, not NORMANDY - same objective, different strategy than the one they eventually used.

Imagine if the Allies had no strategy? What would have happened? Schprechen Sie Deutsche? They wouldn’t have achieved their mission. A football team can know it’s mission – win – but it needs more than that, HOW are we going to get that done? It needs a game plan. A Strategy!

So let me review. We’ve spent this whole month recalibrating around our purposes. They come directly from Jesus himself and they are to:

- to love God

- to love Each Other

- to Love Lost People, who matter to God!

Our vision is to be a church that excels in these three loves.

If you take those loves as a whole, they form our mission:

to provide a safe place where unchurched, spiritual seekers of truth, can become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

That’s our Reaching and Teaching mandate, our mission. Today I want to say, if we don’t have an effective STRATEGY for accomplishing this mission, we’re dead in the water.

(SLIDE) Now, you may think that having a strategy doesn’t sound very spiritual. Should churches even talk about strategy, is that inappropriate? Shouldn’t we just sit around and pray and trust God to strategize? Isn’t that just a business term and idea? Let’s talk about a Biblical basis for every church having a unique strategy.

First, let’s look at that first church from Acts 2 which Peter led. Obviously that’s a church that was crystal clear about it’s mission. It was only 40 days removed from the Great Commission! With that fresh on their minds and the movement of the Holy Spirit showing up, the church was born!

So what was their mission in a phrase?: to reach and teach. Make Disciples, and build them up. Simple.

But here’s where it gets interesting. What was the culture in which that first church took off? What was the people group, the target group where they intended to plant a church and start to save the world?

...the Jews. You see in these verses, Peter gets up in Jerusalem and he addresses his countrymen… the Jews. It’s in this culture the first church starts. That’s the people group, the target. Now it’s here, at the intersection of MISSION and TARGET that you get a thing called strategy.

Strategy is simply the best way of applying Christ’s mission to a given target.

And in this case… what is that strategy? Read the rest of the verse… In this first-ever church sermon, Peter is leveraging the fact that his audience are Jews. They knew the Old Testament and so they knew the prophecies about Messiah, they knew the nature of God, the cost of sin, they understood sacrifice etc.

So if Peter’s going to make the message of Christ relevant to them, what sort of strategy is he going to use? He better tie it to all the previous revelation of the Old Testament. He better use the sacrificial system and prophecy… and this is exactly what he does… quoting Joel and David. 3000 respond to that strategy!

But Peter is not the only church planter in the Bible. Paul also plants many churches in the Roman Empire. Now, as Paul is going about that work, what is his mission? This is not a trick question. Is his core message different than Peter’s? Is his mission different? No.

Col 1:28 "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ."

That’s reaching and teaching… just like Peter.

But what is Paul’s target? Is Paul’s target mainly the Jews (like Peter) or did he have a different target? Galatians 2:7 says that the early church realized that while Peter was sent to the Jews to reach and teach, Paul was sent to the non-Jews to reach and teach.

That’s Paul’s target… Gentiles. Same mission – different target. And we said it’s at the intersection of mission and target that you get a strategy. So with different targets do you think Paul had the same or different strategy than Peter? Different, obviously.

Look at the verses on the screen… they come from Acts 17 where Paul is preaching to Greeks on Mars Hill. And Paul notes that these people are religious. Now, does he say to himself…

“this is pathetic, these pagans worship these idols, what a sacrilegious, detestable thing, I’ll start by telling them how evil and stupid that is.”

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