Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Two ways we fail to change the world

Posted on 05 Aug 2014 in Discipleship, Ministry, missional theology | 3 comments

Our lives are full of missed opportunities, I’m convinced of it. We struggle, fight, complain, and ultimately give up and end up missing out on something great that God wanted to do through us. He calls and shapes each one of us to do something world changing, but we fail to live up to those expectations?


It’s hard. And let’s be honest, when life or some circumstance is hard, our natural tendency is to quit.

We don’t like hard.

We like easy.

But easy is never rewarding.


Frequently in the Gospels, Jesus tells us about the ‘cost of discipleship. One such example can be found in Luke 14:

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

Jesus never promised that discipleship was easy, only that it would be rewarding.


In every area of our life, Christ calls us to put him first until everything that we say and do is a reflection of him to the world.

Here are two main areas where I commonly see people settle for less than God has for them.

  1. Relationships. 
  2. Mission.



We take the easy way out in our relationships all the time. Instead of growing deeper with our spouses, we turn to porn to satisfy something that is missing. Instead of having friends that know us fully, we keep them at arms length only talking about ‘safe’ topics. We treat our coworkers as some product to be used to our advantage for the next raise, and not as human beings shaped in the image of God. We find somebody that needs to be fixed and use them as a project to make ourselves feel better.

The list could go on, but you get the idea. Chances are you’ve done or had done one of these things to you. You know deeply the pain that comes when people choose easy relationships.

Joining the Community

Joining the Community (Photo credit: Infomastern)

But no one can adequately comprehend how much God loves them without genuine relationships.

When our life is void of true community, we never have a complete sense of self. We don’t have people that can reflect back to us the unique and invaluable ways that God has made us. Without community, we can never fully be who God made us to be.



Another common place that we miss our chance to be a world-changer is in our mission. We’ve even set up our church system to reflect this. We’ve created an entire economic system where the average Christian can pay someone else to do their job. Have friends that need to know Jesus at your job? Simple! You tithe, so just invite them to church on Sunday to hear someone else explain why your faith means so much!

It even extends into our communities. We’ve taken commands that call us to be good neighbors and equated them with quaint pleasantries like keeping our lawn mowed and our music quiet. Our thought is that if our neighbors see how nice a lawn we have, they might somehow gain a desire to go to church with us.

But no one can genuinely follow Christ without being engaged in personal mission. 


Compassion (Photo credit: analogophile)

When our life is void of personal mission, we opt out of the grand design plan that God has for our life and instead settle for a cheap imitation and substitute. Without a personal mission, we have nothing to offer anyone around us because faith without works is dead. Without mission, we can never change the world as God would want us to.


These two ideas hold together everything else that a Jesus follower is supposed to be.

  • If we live in community and have a clear sense of mission, churches would stop having ‘worship wars’ and engage in community transformation.
  • If we live in community and have a clear sense of mission, we stop  complaining about our rotten neighbors, neighborhoods, schools, or local problems and start banding together to do share the love of Christ with the lost, hurting, broken, and outcast.
  • If we live in community and have a clear sense of mission, we live with eyes and ears open to the many ways God would have us share in acts of compassion and mercy to the hurting world around us.


The call for discipleship forces us to change our priorities. No one can be a complete Jesus follower without a community to strengthen and support us, and without a mission to guide us. Discipleship isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. World-changing never happens on accident, but only through intention and focus in action.

Which will you choose?

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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  • Craig

    In some ways you could say we’ve only missed one thing. We’ve missed out on relationships and that is the mission of God, to relate to others God’s mission of healing love. Or, We’ve missed out on mission and the mission is to relate to others as the presence of Christ as we are on a mission from God.

    The bullet points on community really hit it though. Community where we can practice this, and the place that, if we relate to it, can hold us accountable.

    Thanks for the good thoughts.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Craig. I think you’re on to something about how the mission relates to community, and perhaps what I should have made clearer is that the mission I was thinking of took specific form or shape for a particular individual, family, or small group; that is, a specific cause that they would adopt and carry forward. But yes, I agree with you that the mission relates well to the focus of life in community.

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