Ever watch old episodes of "The Lone Ranger"? What an idyllic figure of American heroism. He was tough, independent, and never let anyone know his true identity.
It is probably not a shock to hear that God does not want us to be "Lone Ranger Christians." No one person can exemplify the complete life of Jesus to the surrounding world. We need a circle of believers around us who go forth into the world with us. We need what I call a "mission community"—a small group of believers who reach out to specific people and meet specific needs in this world as a means of sharing the grace and truth of Christ.
This brings up some key questions: Just how does the Holy Spirit create these diverse mission communities within churches? Then, once created, how does the Spirit use these communities to reach people for Christ?
A Biblical Model for Mission Communities
In John 15 we discover that the Holy Spirit creates these communities. Jesus says he will "send" the Holy Spirit "from the Father" and that this Spirit will "bear witness" of Jesus in the world (verse 26). This not only implies that the Spirit is God, but also that the Spirit will be the authorized representative of Christ after his departure. How will the Spirit "bear witness" of Christ? Jesus, who previously described himself as "the truth" (John 14:6), now says he will send forth "the Spirit of truth." This Spirit of truth will come to Jesus' disciples so they might "bear witness also" (15:27) of Jesus and his truth in the world.
In John 16 we discover how this "witness" will go forth.Â Jesus' ministry will continue after his resurrection ...