3. Stay Focused on the Mission. Most often, friendly fire occurs in combat because of a breakdown in communication, specifically when troops lose communication or the mission objective gets compromised or confused. It is easy to become disoriented in the fog of war and make critical mistakes that potentially lead to firing upon friendly troops. This is a tragedy when it occurs. Thankfully, in military combat it is uncommon. Sadly, in the church, it is far less uncommon.
Get a clear picture of God’s vision for the local church and then say it over and over and over again. Ensure that the vision and mission are clear in the minds of every new enlistee, to every battle-worn sergeant, sergeant major and major. From the nursery to the nursing home, articulate the mission of the church so that it becomes exceedingly difficult to get off course. Preach on the importance of unit comradery and unification of the battle effort.
In the military, a lot of time is spent marching in lockstep in order to hone a sense of unity. Preachers of God’s Word don’t have the luxury of drilling the platoon, but we can exercise great perseverance in proclaiming the importance of unity among the brethren through constant calls to create and sustain communities where forgiveness, love and humility are in power, rather than people’s egos duking it out over secondary matters of personal preference. Articulate the vision. Help the people to stay focused on the mission (Proverbs 28:19, Romans 12:11-21, I John 3:18).
4. Stay Focused on Saving Lives. There are few things more rewarding to most combat medics than actually saving the life of one of their soldiers. It is tough work to make a mission of handling wounded people and treating their injuries. It is difficult to sustain one’s own health along the way. Combat medics risk injury themselves as the bullets whiz by and the bombs explode all around them. However, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a healthy soldier who survived the battle because God used us to stop the bleeding and get him back in the fight and safely back to his family.
Writing to his son in the faith, Timothy, the Apostle Paul says, “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer” (II Timothy 2:3-4 NIV84). Fellow medic, our mission has nothing to do with the mundane affairs of this world. Our training is not well-utilized in garrison. We were trained for battle and the battle rages on.
Get in the fight! People are wounded and bleeding. Our enemy is constantly on the offensive. In the battle that wages, will we dispense a little vitamin-M, pat the troops on the back and send them back into the battle still wounded? Or will we roll up our sleeves and speak to the deeper matters of sin and repentance and discipleship? Preach like a combat medic. Lives depend upon it. Eternal destinies count on it. Present victories are lost without it.