These three words carry tremendous weight when spoken in a particular context. Think about it. When someone says they’re willing to do whatever it takes, believe me when I say things just got real! What they’re really saying, in essence, is there’s an achievement, a cause, or a goal that’s not just worthy of some of my energy, but if it requires it, can have all of my energy.
Athletes approach their most competitive games with this mindset of doing whatever it takes to win. Parents work multiple jobs doing whatever it takes to provide for their children. And less than two weeks ago, we observed hundreds of Black Friday shoppers doing whatever it takes, some even camping out in front of their favorite retail store for days, just to be the first in line when the doors opened. This whatever it takes mentality is prevalent in our culture, although often overlooked and undervalued.
Here’s a question for ya…is there a cause in your life for which you’re willing to do whatever it takes?
If you’re like me, one of the first thoughts that popped in your mind was either your family or closest friends. Good answer, good answer (pardon my Family Feud moment)!!! That’s kind of an obvious response, and though noble, it’s somewhat expected. My question is more focused on a cause that’s outside of your every day relationships, outside of your family and close-circle of friends. Is there something, a cause in your life for which you’re willing to do whatever it takes?
If you’re not sure, that’s okay!
Seriously, it’s okay if you’re still trying to figure it out. Most of us are, to be truthful. What we fail to realize is that we were all created to be a part of something BIGGER than us. A cause that is bigger than our names and our reputations. A cause where we’re partnering with God Himself, using our time, talents and treasure—doing whatever it takes.
For me, it’s been starting a church in the Perimeter area. I know you’re probably thinking, “You would say starting a church as the ideal cause right?” That’s definitely not what I’m saying. Churches are started all the time (thank God) and the last thing I’m trying to do (at 45 years old) is be a part of some fad/trend. I can assure you, I will not do whatever it takes just to be trendy! Yet, being a part of this young community of faith has been the cause that’s most gripped my heart over the last couple of years.
During the Christmas holidays of 2012, Tina and I made it known to our closest family and friends that we’d be leading a young church plant in the Perimeter area. We had no clarity of locale, mission or even a name. What we did have was a clear sense of burden for a dense and diverse area of Atlanta. Yes, we wanted to be in the Perimeter area and yes, we wanted to see a church planted in the Perimeter area. But the essence of our burden was to see a church planted that looked like the Perimeter area. For that burden, we’re willing to do whatever it takes.
What do I mean by looked like the Perimeter area?
Well, I’m delighted you asked!
I mean exactly that—a church that resembled the diversity of the area (ethnically, generationally, socio-economically). Is that a jab at homogenous churches? Absolutely not! Frankly, a homogenous environment on Sunday mornings doesn’t best reflect the diversity of the Perimeter (Sandy Springs/Dunwoody) area. If you don’t believe me, pay the area a visit! Now if our goal was to simply create cool environments for the gospel on Sunday mornings, build up a following of people to call me “Pastor” and my wife, “First Lady” in order for us to feel more important, I might not feel as burdened to be diverse (LOL)! However, if we’re asking God to use the people of Perimeter Pointe to impact this area with the gospel, doesn’t it make sense for those individuals to remotely resemble the people they’re trying to reach? I’m just saying!
Sounds challenging right? Well, it’s definitely not easy—if that were the case, we would already see several diverse churches in the area. But, we do not! This is why we’re taking what I like to term a Luke 5 approach. What’s a Luke 5 approach you may ask? It’s the passage in Luke 5 (verses 17-26, to be exact) where Jesus heals the man who was paralyzed. Briefly, the approach is found in the four men, carrying the stretcher a paralyzed guy was on. They literally tore the roof off just to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. The task before them wasn’t comfortable or easy. Yet, getting their friend to Jesus, knowing there was the potential of him being healed was a burden they were willing to do whatever it might take.
Therein lies our burden of being a part of a diverse family of faith: diverse ethnically, generationally, and socio-economically. Since there are thousands of un-churched and de-churched individuals who call Sandy Springs/Dunwoody home, this is a burden that’s bigger than all of us and is on God’s heart. No one person can do this alone. No one church can do this alone. Here’s how you can partner with us to fulfill our mission – pointing people to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
This Sunday, we will have our Christmas Offering, a time when we’re bringing an extravagant offering to God on Sunday morning (click HERE for more details). This is one way for us to accomplish three huge goals in fulfilling God’s mission for the Perimeter area, and we’d love for you to join us. In fact, I shared additional details in the message this past Sunday entitled, Whatever It Takes. We hope you’ll join us!