Last Sunday the Lead Pastor of Redemption Church, Tyler Johnson, came up to
Flagstaff and spoke about how we as a church are marked by mission. I think we’ve
all heard the idea that mission is not just something that takes place overseas or in
remote villages, but happens right here in our mundane and typical contexts. But
what does that mean?
Tyler shared that the Church is central to God’s redemptive plan for all of creation.
It is strategically designed to be a microcosm of what life should look like when a
people choose to abandon sin and serve Jesus as King. A microcosm is meant to be
a small unit that represents a larger whole, so the local Church should be as diverse
as the city that it is in. In this way, God has people living as ambassadors for him in
all the various groups and subcultures of a community.
This was challenging to hear for a few reasons. First, we as Redemption Flagstaff
aren’t all that diverse at the moment. Being so close to Northern Arizona University,
our members are mostly college students and most are quite similar occupationally,
economically, and racially. Secondly, I was reminded that my personality and
situation in life are a part of God’s strategy to redeem Flagstaff. I have the calling
and opportunity to show those around me how to be an introvert, a wife, a part of the
worship team, and a dental assistant under the rule of Jesus.
We want to be diverse and become a church that matches the demographic of the
city. The brilliance of the church, however, is that although we all sit together in a
Sunday service, throughout the rest of the week we are spread out all over the city
doing the things that we have to do and the things we like to do. We have different
friends, hobbies, preferences, taste in music, etc., which will take us to different
places and will make us interact with different people. We need to take these
opportunities to joyfully remember that we are on God’s redemptive mission for the
city of Flagstaff.
It seems to me that living out the kingdom ethic in this way probably isn’t as epic as
we’d like it to be. It happens in a lot of small ways throughout the day as we decide
to be honest, to work hard, and to listen well. Doing this shouldn’t make us feel self-
important but should instead show that God is important. The point of being marked
by mission is not to isolate us or make us strange, but to urge us to live lives that
invite others to serve Jesus as we demonstrate our love for Him and for the world He
- Emily Szyman