Let’s be honest. As necessary as it is, we hate the idea of multiplying. Starting a new Summit at some other house, maybe on a different day and at a new time, means creating distance between friends (extended spiritual family) and not seeing one another as regularly as we once did. Still, creating new communities is an essential part of being the church. We take very seriously the words of Jesus when He said He was in the midst of even the smallest gathering of His followers (Matthew 18:19-20). If that’s true, then we conclude it is better for Jesus to be in 100 places among 10 than in one place among 1000.
I’ve been reflecting on two groups that are found in the church, the expediti and the communitas. The first are the mobile disciples who range across the land preaching the gospel. The second group are the “nesters” the ones that provide a home, a hospital, a school and a launching pad. These are the folks who stay behind, the ones that Paul and Peter and John wrote the letters to. They are the ones who receive instruction and live out Christ’s command to “love one another.” Continue reading The Ones They Left Behind→
The expediti are the heroes of the New Testament. They are the ones that are pushing into new territory, facing resistance, defying the odds to “boldly go where no one has gone before. “
You can name the new testament expediti. They are Paul, Peter, Phillip, Apollos, virtually all of the named apostles and lesser apostles. To be an apostle is to be “one sent,” an emissary or an ambassador. Their very role declares they are expediti.
Such people are an essential part of the body of Christ. The fellowship of believers is to be made up of a generous population of folks who are sent out or who are outwardly focused. After all, Jesus taught that we should go out into the world and make disciples and teach people to follow Him. Even if we don’t go to far-away places we can still be expediti because of the way we think. We find ourselves standing by the window wondering where lost people are or where a church could be planted. The expediti are the ones always bringing new people to the gathering, sometimes even strange ones.
Wherever they are, they carry the life of the gospel. They go out with the blessing of those who have seen and can verify the work of the Spirit it their lives. I think of Paul and Barnabas being sent on their way from Antioch, or Timothy, having earned the respect of his community, being sent out from Lystra.
The Ones They Left Behind
But these people are only one part of the expanding presence ofthe Kingdom on earth. They are the ones we know and admire because their constant activity attracts our attention. They are the exciting cast of characters in the Book of Acts. But there is another vital component of the advancing kingdom: the communitas, the ones left behind to hold territory, as in Romans 16:3-16 who we can only guess about.