by Bryan King - Mobilization Minister, Cedar Ridge Christian Church
Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
Three years ago, the Lord gave Cedar Ridge a vision to reach our neighbors and the nations using movement principles from the New Testament. Specifically, God placed two numbers in front of us - 1,000 new disciples in the Tulsa area and 50 people to be sent to South Asia by 2026. Our missions leadership, elders and staff had searched the Scriptures for the Father's heart and rediscovered His desire to see His church involved in this task in a hands on way.
To be completely honest, we had no clue what we were doing (and still do not in many ways). We simply sought to obey the Spirit's call. As we began to walk this path, the Lord was faithful to walk with us and continues to do so to this day. In the beginning, Jesus' words from Matthew 28:18-20 were key for us. However, not once did we consider the phrase, "I am with you always to the end of the age." As we look back over the three years, this promise is more than evident.
Here are some ways Jesus has been faithful to this promise over the past few years.
Thousands of prayers by Cedar Ridge members for those in their spheres of influence (oikos).
Friends, family members, neighbors and other hearing the Gospel thousands of times from the mouth of a Cedar Ridge member.
Cedar Ridge members leading friends, family members, neighbors and others to Jesus, baptizing them and teaching them to obey Him.
Other churches and ministries trained by Cedar Ridge to do the same.
We praise God for His faithfulness to walk with us. We are amazed at what He has done and is doing!
As we look back on the past few years, perhaps the most amazing thing the Lord has done is to help us not only send out our own missionaries but to actually train them to go. Originally, we had planned to farm out this training to outside organizations - after all we had no idea how to train missionaries. Despite our inexperience, our No Place Left brothers insisted the best path forward would be for us to train up these workers for South Asia by starting our own bi-vocational missionary and church planting residency. Despite our feelings of complete inadequacy, we again went down the path Jesus was leading and He kept His promise once again. In two months time, we went from having one candidate for South Asia to have a full residency of 12 adults and the Lord provided a couple (Mike and Kathy Dennis) out of the church to lead the residency. God used the original residency to see hundreds of people hear the Gospel, to bring others into the Kingdom, to train other believers to make disciples, to launch a second residency this fall, and even send our first workers to South Asia in 2018. When people hear our story, they often want to know how we are doing it. The truth is: we are not. God is doing this. As we stepped out, the Unseen Doer has been faithful to meet us every step of the way. Because this is the Spirit's work, He is more than capable to fill in the gaps where we fail. You wanna see Jesus keep His promise? Don't wait. Don't try to figure it all out. Just start. He "will be with you to the end of the age."
Bryan King is the Mobilization Minister at Cedar Ridge Christian Church in Broken Arrow, OK. His wife Michal and their children love life in Tulsa and the beautiful mess that is family and #NoPlaceLeft.