Hub City Vision Talk 2016
This Past Sunday, June 12, was a big Sunday for Hub City Church. We talked about where we've been, where we are, and where we're going as a church. It was exciting to look beyond-the-horizon at where God is leading us. Some of our regulars missed hearing, but I don't want them to miss out, so here is my manuscript. Let me know your thoughts and/or questions.
Vision Talk 2016
This morning, I hope to paint a picture of what I’m calling the
beyond-the-horizon vision. I want us to take a look to the horizon at what God
has for Hub City and imagine and dream about how to get there.
As most of you know, Hub City is a little over 7½ years old as a
church. Our mission has always been to make disciples who make disciples. We
got that from Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19-20
Therefore go and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And
surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
We want you to grow as a disciple who in turn makes disciples.
And remember, we define a disciple as someone who hears from God and does what
he says. A disciple is someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus
and committed to the mission of Jesus, which is making disciples.
But mission is different from vision. Mission is focused on what
we’re to do. Vision is a picture of a preferred future. Mission never changes.
Vision is fluid because the horizon keeps evolving. Vision is like one of those
old Polaroid pictures that becomes more focused over time.
When we started Hub City, the simple vision was to start a
church. And that is what we’ve done. So, what's next?
About a year ago I started asking God what he might have next for
us at Hub City. For a long time I didn’t hear anything. And then about six
months ago some things started to take shape. This phrase came coming to mind: Be the Church.
Our first vision was to plant a church. We did that. Now it’s
time for us to be the church. But what
does that look like?
I want to show you a map. This is a map of Spartanburg from 1887.
This map shows how Spartanburg became the Hub City back in the late 1800s.
There were seven train lines that fanned out from the city like spokes on a
wheel making Spartanburg a major transportation hub with passengers, goods,
textiles, peaches and other produce passing through Hub City to nearly every
corner of the country.
This history not only has a direct link to our name but more
importantly to the be the church vision
that God has for us.
I believe God is calling Hub City
Church to be a training, equipping and sending hub, so that we can be the
church in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and around the world as salt, light
and ambassadors for Jesus.
See, we are at a crossroads in the life and history of Hub City
Church. We have a choice to make. Are we going to just do church, or are we going to be the church?
See, over time churches, really all organizations but
specifically churches, overtime, turn inward. We become all about us. And
instead of being the church we’ll just
be all about doing church. As time goes
on we just keep trying to do church better, hopefully better than the other
church down the street. But that’s a problem because we aren’t called to do
church, we are called to be the church. The truth is that it would be so easy
for us to fall into this pit. It’s easier to do church that to be the church.
It’s easier to do church where it's all about its Sunday services. It’s easier
to do church in a way that’s directed and defined by our preferences and
desires as insiders.
Of all the organizations in the world, the last that should be
inward is the church. The church as an organization, and it’s not even an
organization, it really is a living organism, the body of Christ, but the
church, as the body of Christ, at its core, exists for those who aren’t yet a
That’s why we don’t exist to do
church. We exist to be the church.
But what does that look like? What will it look like for us to be
the church? As I’ve asked this question and prayed over this question God keeps
bringing me back to Jesus’ final words before his ascension into heaven. This
was Jesus’ be the church vision for the
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive
power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in
Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Notice there are two parts to this verse: You will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and then you will be my witnesses.
The first part is about having the Holy Spirit infill us and
transform us from the inside out. This is about having a healthy and growing
relationship with God.
We can’t force the Holy Spirit to come, but we can do our part to
position ourselves and create a heart and an environment for the Holy Spirit to
move. We do that through prayer, confession, meditation on God’s word, letting
him transform us, and obeying him.
This is about our relationship with him. That’s why the first
step in being the church is to have a
growing and healthy relationship with God where he is speaking to us through
his word and through his Spirit. It begins on the inside of us.
But there's a second part to being the church. It says: Then we
will be witnesses of Jesus. When you see that word “witnesses” I want you to
think of being salt, light and ambassadors of Jesus.
Jesus tells us to begin in Jerusalem. Let’s talk about Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is your world, where you work, where you live, where you play. I want
you to think about your world in terms of the domain in society where God has
you. Each of you lives, works and plays in one of societies’ domains. This is
I want to show you a graphic. It shows the domains that make up
our society. Now looking at that graphic, what is your domain? Write it down.
What Jesus is telling us is that we are to be salt, light and
ambassadors of Jesus in our domains.
Imagine what it would look like for
the church to weave itself as a disciple-making force in each domain. Where we
are a subversive presence of salt and light, where we are outposts of
ambassadors, where we are making disciples in whatever domain we find ourselves
in. And as a result of our presence, over time, each domain will be transformed
from the inside out. That’s what it looks like for us to be the church.
See, our mission hasn’t and will not change. It can’t change.
Jesus told us to make disciples. It’s what he did. It’s what we are to do. But
I want us to be a disciple-making force, transforming this county. And as we’ve
said before, you are where you are on purpose for a purpose. That purpose is to
be salt, to be light, to be an ambassador for Jesus, making disciples in your
And then he says “in all of Judea and Samaria.” Judea and Samaria
represent places that are near us but people who aren’t like us, or places that
are far away from us and people who are like us. We are to be witnesses in all
of those places.
Let’s be honest, we can’t do that, but what we can do is partner
with and plant churches so that that happens. We don’t know exactly what this
will look like. What we do know is that we can’t transform this community and
our state and our country on our own. We need more disciple-making churches to
grow out of us to connect with people we can’t connect with and further extend
what we are doing beyond what we can do. We can be the church by planting more
churches to be the church. And we want to send some of you out to do that. This
also means partnering. Partnering and planting is how to reach all Judaea and
And then we will be witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
The ends of the earth for us is a village in Haiti that nobody wants to help.
It’s a village that’s an hour and a half hike up into the mountains. It’s the
village of Viello.
Over the next 5 to 10 years God is going to use us being the
church to transform that village. It’s going to begin with sponsoring and
educating the kids in the village. We’re going to talk more about this next
week when our team that’s in Haiti today gets some more information to share
All of this comes back to what I said earlier about being the
church: I believe God is calling Hub City Church
to be a training, equipping and sending hub, so that we can be the church in
our neighborhoods, workplaces, and around the world as salt, light and
ambassadors for Jesus.
My Be the Church Dream:
have a dream that people will want us as neighbors.
have a dream that we’ll be neighbors people want to spend time with.
have a dream that people will see us live such different and Christ-like lives
that they will ask us about the hope that we have.
have a dream that our workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, clubs and places we
visit are different and transformed because of our influence.
have a dream that many new churches will be planted out of Hub City, so that
there will be more training posts hubs both here in Spartanburg and around our
nation and world.
have a dream that we transform a village in Haiti through education, and making
This is what it looks like for us to be the church.
All of this is going to require a step of faith, or should I say,
a leap of faith for each of us. Because if you’ll notice, this vision isn’t
dependent at all on us meeting in the theater. It’s not dependent on me as the
pastor. It’s dependent on each us being the church.
Which means my job is to equip you to be the church. My job is to
do what I can to help you grow as a disciple and in a relationship with God so
that you can impact your domain as salt and light and as an ambassador of
Jesus. My job is to stretch you and maybe push you out of the nest.
God is calling Hub City Church to be
a training, equipping and sending hub, so that we can be the church in our
neighborhoods, workplaces, and around the world as salt, light and ambassadors