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18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
— Jesus, Matthew 28:18-20

The passage above is known to many Christians as “The Great Commission.” Jesus is telling the disciples they must go out and make disciples of those around them. Unfortunately, many Christians have treated this as the “The Great Suggestion” opposed to a Gospel mandate. Christians exist to point people back to Jesus Christ. As we compared this mandate to some of the latest church statistics, we found that a heart change was necessary for the glory of Christ and the future of Otley Church.

In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus tells a parable about a shepherd who leaves a flock 99 sheep to go out and find one lost sheep. The shepherd leaves because he is not willing to leave one lost sheep he could save. As a church we are shifting our focus as well. We are going to reach out and seek out the one who is lost.

The “All In” Challenge

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

— Jesus, Matthew 16:24-26

Jesus is not interested in us liking him, he is interested in us knowing, loving and following after him. In order to be a disciple, we have to put him above everything else in our lives. Yes. Everything. Not only does this include the “bad things” our sins, our hurts, and our hang-ups, but also some“good things” like our spouse, our families. If we are clinging to (and carrying) our cross(es), we are going to have to let go of something.

Here are some examples of what people have given up or done to embrace an “All In” Mentality:

  • My Comfort

  • Taking time to visit with those whom we would not normally.

  • Realizing other people can benefit from my story

  • “My way” of doing church

“All In” Testimonies

Pastor Mike

I love Jesus. I’ve always thought I loved Jesus. Yet, it is at this point in my life, that I realize the “rubber” needs to meet the road. As a pastor, I always have “good things” to do: sermons to write, people to visit, meetings, bible studies to prepare for, etc. Yet, despite being a “man of God” and a pastor, I still had it wrong. I loved God but I was not doing a good job at loving those outside the church. Loving Jesus is loving those whom he loves.

 Pastor Mike and his wife, Krys

Pastor Mike and his wife, Krys

Through some guidance with coach and friend, Daryl Cripe, I re-assessed my ministry and my role at Otley Church. God’s word convicted me on a number of levels, first that the contemporary church is the man who buried the one talent, and we lost our heart for the lost. Matthew 18:12-14 says, “12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

The Parable of the Lost Sheep demonstrates the heart I desire to have. I have to shift focus from the sheep who are “safe” and reach the lost. It may not be easy, but I am dedicating our ministry to doing whatever it takes to reaching the next lost sheep for Christ.

Forrest's Story
 Forrest sporting his “All In” Swag.

Forrest sporting his “All In” Swag.

Like many of our older members, Forrest was skeptical about what it meant for him to be all in. Typically they respond by saying, I can’t do anything or I don’t meet many non-believers. I (Mike) told him, that the most important thing we can do is to pray for us to be “All In” that we are willing to do whatever it takes to reach one more. After receiving his “All In” bracelet he put it on….and he used it as an opportunity to witness just a few days later.

While at Sunday dinner with family, someone asked about his bracelet. He proceeds to tell them all that he proudly signed the “All In” contract, recites Matthew 16:24, and talks about how we are trying to make disciples.

Being “All In” starts with sharing the Gospel with your family!

Jenni's Story

Being a new Christian, I had no idea what it meant to reach the lost, not that long ago, I was the lost one. But I decided if I was going to be a disciple, I was going to be all in. As uncomfortable as it may be sometimes, talking about the Good News of Jesus may open someone’s heart. A friend and coworker of mine was telling me about how she was going through a difficult situation and felt as though she needed to get back to her faith. I had just finished reading “Not A Fan” by Kyle Idleman and it convicted me, made me want to build my faith and following of Jesus and I felt as though this could help her too, so I lent it to her. When she returned the book there was a Thank You note stuck inside that told me how it helped her to be more aware of the relationship she had with God and how it made her step out of her comfort zone and join a new church and bible study. She has showed a love for Christ that makes me so happy. And I will continue to share my story, in hopes of reaching others who may be lost just like I was.

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Prepare Your Heart

Preparing our hearts is crucial to being “All In” so how do prepare your heart?

  1. Pray about it.

    We cannot underestimate the power of prayer. A commitment of this magnitude must be founded in by a love for God and a thankfulness of what He has done for us!

  2. Consult the Scriptures

    Our responsibility:

    Matthew 28:18-20 (The Great Commission)

    Matthew 18:12-14 (Parable of the Lost Sheep)

    What it will cost us:

    Matthew 16:24-26 (Taking up our Crosses)

    Luke 14:25-33 (The Cost of Discipleship)

  3. Consider for yourself….is it worth it?

    What did Christ give up for you?

    What are you having to give up?

    1. Sin?

    2. Something you love?

    3. Your personal preferences?

    4. Your spot in the pew?

    5. Your comfort?

Make the Commitment

 Taking up our Crosses, to follow!

Taking up our Crosses, to follow!

Name *
Name
Enter the Date of your Commitment here! *
Enter the Date of your Commitment here!

In filling out this form, you are expressing your desire to be “All In.” We are not going to hold back, we are going to prayerfully go into the world and reach it for the sake and cause of Christ.

Make a Kingdom Impact

 For many of us, signing the commitment form is not hard, the hardest part is following through with our decision to be “All In.” To help you, and to keep all of us on track, here are some steps which can help you along your “All in” Journey"

Continue in prayer and in your study of God’s Word.

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We cannot underestimate the importance of keeping in touch with the vine. If we want to bear fruit for Christ, we must be attached to him. Joining with other believers here at Otley Church can help you stay rooted in God’s word!

Select your “One”

Being “All In” is about making sure that Christ is first in our lives, and when we make Christ number one, we know we are to share him with those around us. Identify someone in your daily life who needs to know Christ and make it your mission to share Christ with them.

Consider joining a life group or a bible discovery Class

Adult Bible Studies are offered on campus at Otley Church on Sunday mornings starting at 11:00 am and run to 11:30 am. There are three classes offered for adults. The topics of these classes vary, but they will all be biblical and applicable to our lives in a contemporary world. If you prefer, we offer a Wednesday night experience from 6:45-8:15

Serve using your gifts

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One of the best ways for us to make a kingdom impact is to serve others (and the church) using our gifts. If you don’t know what your gifts are, go ahead and take a Spiritual Gifts Discovery Assessment. Then, feel free to talk to Pastor Mike, Chris, or Becky about where Otley Church might be able to use your gifts!