In Luke 10 the Lord gives his relatively small band of followers their marching orders and a brief deployment strategy before sending them out “two by two… like lambs among wolves”.   He begins with the following instructions;

{4} “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road”.

In essence, “travel light and keep a low profile”.  Interestingly enough, these are also fundamental principles found in what is now commonly known as “guerilla warfare”.   This term has come to represent a military strategy that utilizes small, highly mobile and heavily armed groups of soldiers.  Their objective is often to move in for the strike and then to quickly move on before the larger, slow moving enemy has time to respond.  This style of combat stands in stark contrast to what was once the widely accepted form of battle.   Armies would line up in formation, wearing bright colors and waving banners while blowing horns to alert the opposing force of their presence and intent.   Although grandiose and epic in scale, for obvious reasons, this form of warfare has long since been rendered ineffective and thus obsolete.   And yet, consider the similarities between this method of going to war and our current local church paradigm.  Do we not spend more of our time and energy gathering together, lining everyone up, and banner waving than we do releasing our strategic deployments?  How quickly can we change direction corporately or decrease our resource consumption in order to increase troop mobility?

The Lord’s strategy for kingdom advance was, and is, brilliant.

{7-8} “Stay in (a) house, eating and drinking whatever they give you.  When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.”

A missionary friend of ours recently returned from a trip to the Orient.  She confirmed that being able to “eat what is set before you” is actually a crucial step in earning the privilege of sharing your faith.  Most cultures will expect a meal in one’s home to serve as the starting point for relationship.  If you want to reach someone in Japan, for instance, you most likely will have to be able to ingest raw fish and seaweed soup without gagging… an ability our friend was apparently not able to acquire.  Because I am currently a construction worker, I have had to develop the skill of drinking beer and watching sporting events on multiple TVs while simultaneously guiding the conversation with my co-workers toward topics of a spiritual nature.   It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

The point is that we might need to think a little more creatively about how and why we do what we do as it pertains to world reaching.  Rather than unloading a bus full of people at the park wearing matching T-shirts while brandishing instruments for leading praise and worship, maybe we should consider a more subtle approach.  Jesus sent his teams out with the intent of quietly establishing common ground.  The objective was not to stand out, but rather to blend in.  This is the very reason that Guerrilla forces often utilize plain clothes civilians rather than professional soldiers in uniform.  The target is much smaller and harder to see, thus much more difficult for the enemy to hit.

{10 -11} “But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you”.

As believers, we must learn to quickly discern who is able to receive what we have to offer and who is not.  In the early days of pastoral ministry, I would often find myself investing heavily in relationships that basically ended up going nowhere.   I could spend countless hours counseling, praying for and loving on people that really were not interested in giving themselves over to the lordship of Christ.  In my naivety and pride I would think to myself, “surely if I just hang in there with this person long enough they will eventually decide to repent and turn to the Lord.”  In retrospect, this was usually an exercise in futility.  Any farmer will tell you that sowing seed on an un-plowed field is a waste of both time and resources.   No matter how loving and full of God we may think we are, we must always respect a person’s free will.   Exercising a little discernment about the state of another’s heart can often safeguard us from operating in a spirit of control or manipulation.  Guerrilla church is about being able to get in and get out quickly if we have to.  Not all relationships are worth investing in and it is arrogant to think that we are the perfect solution to each and everyone’s problem.  Even Jesus chose to forgo certain relationships with people knowing the diminished level of their receptivity.

(Mat 9:11-12)  The Pharisees asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”  On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”.

The Lord executed each of his one on one encounters with surgical precision.   He was always intentional, ever mindful, and unashamedly discerning about how and when he invested in his relationships.

{17 -19} The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. {19} I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Let’s face it.  Our enemy is highly skilled in the art of employing an endless array of covert ops.   His troops have no hesitation in using unconventional and underhanded tactics to put the hurt on the church.  Sabotage, espionage, sneak attacks, and outright torture are all considered fair game.  As we gather each week for our regularly scheduled morale boosting sessions, he’s out there nonchalantly picking people off one at a time.  While we are making sure that our formations are orderly and color coordinated, he’s dropping nuclear bombs on our camps and laughing at how clueless we are.   But what’s even more mind boggling is that he’s somehow convinced us that we should focus the brunt of our attack on each other.  Political coups, betrayals, back stabbings… the war within the local church has caused immeasurable collateral damage.

Jesus said “I have given you authority” to get out there and take territory from the enemy.  But stay low, stay small, and make sure you have someone covering your backside.   In truth, we each can develop our own customized style of guerrilla church.  For some, their most effective weapon will be their ability to listen and genuinely care.  For others it may be effectual prayer for healing or deliverance.  One day our primary assignment may be to encourage the cashier at WalMart. The next day it might be to spend an uninterrupted hour talking with one of our kids.  Maybe one week our mission is to be unusually kind to the guy at work we don’t like.  Sometimes the most unassuming acts of obedience yield the greatest impact.   Fanfare and pageantry are fun for a while, but never really affect the outcome of the war.   In the next reformation, the local church will be much quieter, quicker, and perhaps a little less obvious and predictable in our approach to kingdom advancement.  It is time to apply the strategies that our commanding officer so clearly demonstrated while he was with us.  One heart, one mind at a time changed for eternity.

We must stop going to church and start being the guerrilla church that we are called and commissioned to be.

3 Responses to “Guerrilla Church – The Next Reformation Part 11”

  1. Jon Kokko says:

    As an avid backpacker I have to agree. Traveling with a lot of baggage is a great hindrance.

  2. Bump Lumpkin says:

    Thanks for the read Jon. Happy trails. Bump

  3. scott griffey says:

    hey, i made it!!!

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