Today I was asked to speak a few minutes and then lead a prayer for unity in the church of KC at the Citywide Prayer. I prayed asking God to give me His words to speak. In my preparation I began to believe He was. I wanted to record the thoughts I believe He gave me here while they are still fresh in my mind.
I began to think about when I first came to Olathe. I found a church divided. There was competition and territorialism in the air. I went to the Minister’s Fellowship and it was mostly a social thing. The second time I attended they decided to shut it down. I assumed someone else would start it back up so I kept my ear to the ground. However several years went by and no one tried. One day I heard God speaking to me to write every Pastor in Olathe and invite them to prayer. I was one of the youngest pastors and one of the newest but I wrote out of obedience. I figured we wouldn’t have to agree on theology or even how to work together if we could simply come together to pray. Several pastors came and there was some progress.
I need to say here that I’m sure there was more going on than I knew and that surely there was prayer going on somewhere and no doubt someone was praying for what happened next. We moved into a place of kindness between the churches. We began to speak well of each other. There wasn’t a lot of consistency in who came but there was some promise. There was at least some cooperation between the churches. We were moving forward.
Rod Janzen, from OBC, came one day and asked if he could lead the group of Pastors. He wanted us to become more missional and collaborative while continuing to keep a focus on prayer. And Praise God we moved from simply being nice to each other to working together on things like Olathe Serve Day. Citywide Prayer helped us mobilize around the Global Day of Prayer. We were gaining ground and that was a good thing but God had more planned for us.
Over time we began to experience more of the oneness that Jesus prayed for in John 17. We progressed from a head knowledge to getting our hands dirty for the work of citywide mission. The body began to flex its muscles.
And we began to discover that God was uniting our hearts. More and more ministries began to move into the slipstream of the move of the Spirit. There was humility, brokenness and oneness in our spirits. Ministries and churches began to pray alongside each other and to work alongside each other in unprecedened ways in KC. Missional Ministries like Citywide Prayer, What if the Church, The Sending Project, I am Second and many others began to pop up. Churches worked together 30 at a time to serve across our city, north, south, east and west. God is clearly doing something to answer to the Prayer of Jesus.
Jesus prayed to the Father, I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. John 17:21. While it is great that we are becoming one and we are working in missional ways to transform our city the purpose of the prayer is prefaced by the words “so that”. “So that” the world will believe you sent me.
There must be more than just unity for unity’s sake. When we meet around mission and serving we will have BOTH unity and mission. But there is something MORE for us and I pray that we don’t settle here.
God wants not only missional living among His Church–He wants nothing less than “redemption.” He wants His lost children to come home. The purpose for unity and the missional living is “so that” there will be revival. The Father, Spirit and Son want the lost to be found. They want the church involved in storming the gates of hell until the devil surrenders his captives. He wants a church victorious; sharing His victory over the death and the grave! That is the oneness He wants for us—nothing less!
I fear we will substitute or settle for missional living as His church when what He truly desires is that PLUS the salvation that leads to restoration. Jesus died for us to be one like He was with the Father. That means one in mission for the redemption of the world.
We often think about the church and her mission differently than Jesus did. Jesus thought of nothing less that the whole world being redeemed and restored. And that will certainly happen as He said it will. He established His kingdom on earth and reclaimed what was rightfully His through His coming, His death and His resurrection. He taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come.” And it was!
Then He gave His Spirit to the church to USHER in the kingdom of heaven. We are His children—children of the Most High God. We are co-heirs with Jesus; co-laborers with Christ. We are His ambassadors. Our purpose is to restore His kingdom come. There will be unity praise God. There will be mission and with it transformation where earth becomes more like heaven. But God wants more. He wants massive redemption. He wants revival. He wants the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdoms of our Lord and Christ!
There is another step for us Church of KC. We are to come together for unity, mission AND redemption. We are here to reclaim our city for Jesus. Our Father is the Owner of all. This city is rightfully His and our privilege is to declare it and to take it for Him. As His child, and because we together are His bride, I claim Kansas City for Jesus! Will you join the cry!
Verse 17 of this chapter says He will “sanctify us” and teach us from His word. Verse 22 says He will give us His glory “so that” the world will know that “you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” He wants to use us the Church of Kansas City.
He wants to forgive us for thinking of the little “c” church when He is thinking big “C” church. It is not that each church has its’ own mission. The Church has a mission and it is bigger than all of us. It includes every local church and all the missional ministries but it is BIGGER. He needs us to lead our local ministries and churches but to also come together to answer the prayer of Jesus for our city. We can only do this if we do it together.
We must get ready for the unprecendented move of God in KC. We’ve prayed for it. Don’t we believe Jesus? We must arrange our lives around His promises. We must allow and encourage apostles, prophets and evangelists (Eph 4). We are comfortable with pastors and teachers but for Jesus to lead His church to citywide revival we must invite apostolic, prophetic and evangelistic ministry. God is bigger than any individual, church or ministry. We must trust Him to lead His body, the Church. We can and we will!
We’ve been taking steps toward this over the years and we must keep going. God is going to answer our many prayers for this city. It is time to step up and step into the divine flow of redemption’s power. We’ve become comfortable with the “surrendered” Jesus praying in the garden asking for unity. Now it is time to become reverently obedient to the victorious Jesus who comes with eyes blazing with fire, flowing white hair, riding on a white stallion with a two edged sword coming from His mouth. He comes to redeem His bride and to claim the kingdoms of this world.
Before that happens there will be revival like we’ve never seen or experienced—but we’ve prayed for it. We must press in now! Believe Him now! Give up petty things and small dreams. Give up our kingdoms for His kingdom come. Trade them for the vision of Jesus where KC is on fire for Him and thousands join the family.
When I prayed for the Church of KC today I saw village fires in the SW in mid-town, in KCK, the Northland and KCMO. As I continued to pray I saw them come together as one great bonfire! Amen! Let it be so to the glory of God.