by Brittany Moore, Resonate Boise member
As soon as my husband and I announced our decision to move to Boise with a Resonate church plant team, the questions began rolling in. Many assume it is an exciting new adventure, but forget about the challenges that are right alongside the decision to say “yes” to God.
As followers of Christ, we must make hard decisions that go against the grain. Being a part of a church-planting church, we are constantly faced with prayers for our lives and what is next. All of us must ask ourselves what God wants for our next steps and follow, no matter the cost.
Lately I have learned that when you take that next step, you hear many differing opinions. From your family, you hear about the risk of your decision. From your community, you hear it’s exciting and amazing. From your coworkers, you hear that you are crazy and they don’t understand why you would leave good jobs and security. From your closer circle, you may hear bittersweet support, how proud they are of your obedience but how sad to lose the day to day friendship. The questions people ask you never feel like the right questions, and the answers you give may feel somewhere in between radical and insane. In short, you think you know what it’s like to walk in crazy obedience, but will never know until you actually pack your bags, quit your jobs, and wake up one day in a new city.
In this season, it is so important to not shy away from the “why” of radical obedience. There is a very real answer to why we would leave our jobs, why college students, why church planting why now. We must be ready to give a gospel answer to all who ask, and be rooted in the “foolishness” of the gospel rather than the “wisdom” of this world (1 Corinthians 1:27).
When Evan and I have been asked why we are moving with a church plant, here are some of the answers we’ve landed on.
The foundation of everything we do is the good news found in the story of God. God came to earth in the form of a man named Jesus who lived a perfect life, took the place of humanity on behalf of our sin, and died on the cross to redeem the world. After three days, he was raised back to life to conquer evil and death. This wasn’t just kind, it was necessary. It was and is everything. No amount of good or acts or attempts for perfection can give us this justification.
It is an urgent story that should not only move people, but change their lives drastically. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says if Christ did not raise from the dead then Christians should be the people most pitied. Why would he say this unless we are to live in a way that is sacrificial, radical and different from the world? Paul also says that if Jesus was just another man who died and wasn’t raised back to life we should all “eat drink and be merry”.
John Piper says “This doesn’t mean let’s all become gluttons and drunkards if there is no resurrection. Drunkards are pitiable too — with or without the resurrection. If there is no resurrection, what makes sense is middle-class moderation to maximize earthly pleasures.”
Sadly, seeing Christians living a mediocre, comfortable life isn’t uncommon. I believe it is a current epidemic. It has become so easy to pick and choose what we live by in the Bible instead of taking every word Christ had to say very seriously. One verse that Evan and I try to evaluate and live our lives by is Matthew 16:25-26 where Christ says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
What power does the Gospel hold if my life doesn’t reflect anything different than the world? Is it truly losing anything at all if my true love and passion is Christ himself?
Elisabeth Elliot says, “If Christ himself is our treasure, is it not the logical conclusion for us that our lives will be marked by him and our death viewed as a good thing on the day it occurs?” This is a woman whose husband and friends got murdered after flying to an unreached Native people group to share the gospel. Elisabeth and the other wives stayed with the tribe to share their faith with those same people who took their husbands’ lives. Their radical obedience and the work of Gospel brought about all of the tribe coming to know Jesus.
I truly believe if we aren’t willing to move for a church plant out of obedience, or frame our lives towards something else that might look just as radical, we can’t really claim that Jesus is the true treasure of our hearts. I have to ask myself even when I buy a home, go out to eat, or talk with my non-believing friends if I am living out of comfort or obedience. Am I dying to myself to gain so much more? To gain is Christ himself and the joy that comes from sharing this truth.
Paul was changed by the gospel through a crazy story, and became one of the craziest influencers in history (Acts 9). God chose to use a man who was killing Christians, mocking his son Jesus to bring more people to Christ than any other human in history. God didn’t just “choose” Paul, he took his entire life, turned it upside down, gave him a new name, and spoke through Paul to write the pages of the Bible. He took a man who was extremely influential and radical for the advancement of evil, and used those strengths for the good of advancing his own kingdom.
God is a story-changer and God is strategic in his advancement. It’s for our own good that He uses the most influential people to make his name known. So why would we not share the gospel with a person in the most open and influential? College students are not only influencers, but are deciding who they are and what they want. If we are thinking strategically, like God himself, it seems like reaching college students through a biblical community is a good place to start. No college student’s story should ever be written off because sometimes the most unlikely, broken, and lost people end up being the most radical leaders and believers in history. We’ve seen this in Paul, and we’ve seen this in many other stories. College students are influential people who graduate and go out to the nations and to all different segments of the work field. Sharing the love of Christ and multiplying through college campuses seems to be the simplest way to reach the world.
Evan and I have just moved our lives to Boise, and in many ways our daily battle of choosing obedience and joy has just begun. I pray that God multiplies our life and reminds us of the why daily. As we tell people we meet why we moved, may God get the glory due his name. This is why we obey. This is why we move. This is why we church plant.