Shift 1 – From More Effort to More Jesus
As the Exponential team focused on and developed our 2019 theme, “Made for More: Mobilizing God’s People, God’s Way,” we enlisted a team of leaders to help us identify six paradigm shifts and specific moves based on Ephesians 1-6. We believe these six shifts have the potential to start a multiplication movement today, as we revolutionize how we mobilize people and multiply disciples who multiply disciples and plant churches that plant churches. Over a couple of months, we’ll walk through Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, zeroing in on each of these shifts. For other articles in this series, follow this link: Introduction
This week, authors Todd Wilson and Rob Wegner unpack the first critical shift: From More Effort to More Jesus, focusing on Ephesians 1.
Jesus is more!
It is the catalytic message that Paul begins his letter to the church in Ephesus with—from the first half of chapter 1 (verses 1-14) to the end. In fact, Paul begins with a symphony of praise for Christ:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
The second half of the chapter (verses 15-23) is a strategic prayer for the church. The church is called for more, which starts with Jesus because Jesus is always more. Look at what Paul says about Jesus in verse 22:
God placed all things under Jesus’ feet.
As church leaders, our first concern should be that we become obsessed with Jesus ever-growing larger in our minds and in our hearts. And that we see that shift happening in the lives of our churches.
I like how Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch talk about this obsession. They say we need to constantly “re-Jesus” our churches.
It’s fairly easy to become so engulfed in the day-to-day responsibilities of your church that we lose that obsession. It becomes very common for us to get what we call a “little Jesus syndrome.” You can see the signposts for when it’s happening in our churches.
We Forget that We Need More Jesus When We Offer:
- worship without awe;
- prayers without faith;
- service without joy;
- offer to suffer without perseverance.
If we believe that, then we also believe His Church is made for more.
Paul’s first concern is our obsession with the mystery of Jesus is more. And that’s also the first move we’ve identified. As leaders, our core commitment is to lead our church, continually illuminating this mystery and wonder. Only Jesus can fill everything in every way. Not our efforts, our strategies, our plans.
Jesus Is Over Everything; We Need More Jesus
In verses 22-23, Paul says that God appointed Jesus to head over everything for the church—the Body:
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Paul tells us that the church is the body and the fullness of Him and that Jesus has chosen and called His Church to express his fullness in every corner of culture and sphere of society. Paul reminds us of what the church is and isn’t: a body, not a building; an identity, not an activity.
The church is the people of God saved by the power of God for the purposes of God.
It is all the people of God on an everyday mission to fill everything in every way with the fullness of Jesus.
Paul’s Christology shapes his ecclesiology. Throughout this chapter and the whole book of Ephesians, Paul shares this vision of a Jesus-empowered and Jesus-shaped Church that looks like Jesus, walks like Jesus and talks like Him. This church fills every nook and cranny of society with the fullness of Jesus.
As His body, we have a unique opportunity
We are the primary means to manifest His presence. Have you ever thought about—and really embraced—the truth that the Church is the primary way Jesus makes the works of the Kingdom tangible? It is the primary way to proclaim the Gospel. And it’s through His Church that we create these loving communities on a mission who bring the fullness of Jesus to the world.
How big is that vision? That’s the More we’re called to. And yet, most of us as church leaders know there’s this huge gap. Down deep, we know the Church that Jesus died and rose for is designed and made for so much more!
Maybe it’s time to look at how we’re mobilizing people. Maybe it’s time to go back to Scripture to look at how God has called us. As leaders of His Church, to activate the members of the Body of Christ for His work.
Jesus is our foundation for mobilizing people
If we believe and embrace that, then the questions change. How do you equip every disciple to grow in the Lordship of Jesus? How do you grow their ability to share the gospel where they live, work, study, and play? How do we illuminate the mystery and wonder of Jesus as More?
Watch the corresponding Shift 1 video by Rob Wegner here.
Exponential has created a Made for More FREE resource kit. This kit will help your team take a deeper dive into these six shifts. It will also equip you to apply these critical shifts to your local context. Our hope is that you’ll download it, watch the videos and begin this study with your team in preparation for Exponential 2019 conferences. Next time, we’ll unpack Shift 2: From More Volunteers to More Masterpieces.
Want to go deeper into this conversation? This fall, Exponential will bring its “Made for More” live conference experience to you! It will be in Washington, D.C., Southern California, the Bay Area, Chicago, Houston, and New York City. Want to be Made for More through more Jesus? For information about bringing your team to these regional events, go to exponential.org/events.