After four years of ministry in Charlotte Awake, it might seem a bit funny to talk about “WHY” Charlotte Awake exists. A group of citywide intercessors established Charlotte Awake in the early 2000s, so it might seem even more unusual after so many years to talk about why we do what we do.
Don’t get me wrong. We know WHAT we do and HOW we do what we do. We talk about goals and strategies like everyone else. But asking WHY we do what we do, and getting it right is the most significant question of all.
We know these things from experience. If asked WHY do you go to work, you might answer, “to make money to live.” That is certainly true, but then we wonder why we drag ourselves to work, living for the weekends and counting the years to retirement.
But if we were to answer that the reason why we go to work is to glorify God by using the gifts and passions He gave us, then we might love our jobs so much that we might even pay to go to work. Most American employees answer, “to make money to live.”
THE WHAT’S AND HOW’S
Charlotte Awake’s focus has always been on prayer for the health of the church to fulfill the Great Commission. Charlotte Awake 2.0 continues this mission but keenly focuses on helping the church to be spiritually healthy so that it will make new disciples, train new leaders, and multiply. Just as children bring life to families, so spiritual children bring life to the ever-multiplying church.
WHAT we do is to pioneer a church multiplication movement to introduce God’s peace through faith in Jesus especially to the next generations.
HOW we accomplish this mission varies. At the heart of the ministry, we train people and congregations through a Luke 10 strategy of praying to find the people in whom the Holy Spirit is already working. We then introduce them to the Lord through a direct encounter with Him that comes by reading the Bible with them and their network of unbelievers. We call these Bible reading groups, “Bible Clusters.”
If at least 20-100 new believers under biblical shepherds believe they are called to be a new congregation, we help them form this new congregation, which we call a “Community Cluster.”
Nothing happens without prayer, so Charlotte Awake also provides a “neutral banner” for those throughout the church of the city to gather and open these spiritual doors for the church.
That’s HOW we do WHAT we do, and it takes a lot of prayer, time, and help.
THE WHY THAT WASN’T
But WHY do we do what we do?
We need to reach the next generations. Their eternal destinies are at stake. That’s a good reason WHY we do what we do.
Restoring the church to health is also a good reason WHY we do what we do. God gave the church mission of proclaiming the lifesaving gospel to the world, but it takes a healthy church to make disciples. Otherwise, it just makes members. The sickness of our country may be the most significant evidence that the church is also spiritually sick.
If these are good reasons WHY we do what we do, then why, despite our cries and prayers, does our path to revival often seem like we’re squinting through a spiritual fog,searching for the Promised Land, but winding up in another dead end?
We’ve been asking these questions for months. We’ve been praying and searching the Scriptures.
Our previous answers to WHY we do what we do seem as oddly inadequate as saying we go to work to make money.
DISCOVERING THE WHY THAT MATTERS MOST
As we searched Scripture, it turned our eyes from our self-perspective to God’s. We found the greater WHY— one even more important than eternal salvation and a healthy church.
What could be more important than that?
God is brokenhearted!
He is brokenhearted over the condition of the church and the world. In love, He sent His Son to die, so the world does not have to; and He is not willing for anyone to perish (2 Pet.3:9). He loves His church, but it is possible for the church to become so internally preoccupied that it cannot hear the knock of our Lord standing outside trying to get someone to let Him in (Rev. 3:14-20). All might seem well, but where is Jesus in the midst of His church?
God’s love is on display in the church (John 13:35). And His love is extended to the world (John 3:16). The church must awaken to its first love, Jesus. As the Lord counsels the church at Laodicea, though they think all is well, they need to hear His voice as He stands at the door and knocks.Letting Him in requires us to return to Him with zealousness and repentance (Rev. 3:14-22).
Check out our podcast this month for a short teaching on this church in Revelation.
When we properly understand WHY we labor, it becomes clear that WHAT our immediate focus should be is not making Charlotte or the world more prosperous, but setting the captives free through faith in Jesus.
It also becomes clear that HOW we labor is not by new programs or innovative strategies. Love never comes by a program or strategy. HOW we proceed is by His church displaying His love in action (John 13:35), and by His church freely offering His love as it lives among the world and proclaims the gospel to all people (John 3:16).
When we get the WHY of Charlotte Awake right, the WHAT and HOW we do what we do come more sharply into focus so that we don’t leave Jesus outside knocking on the door of His church all the while thinking all is well.