In Holy Vocabulary: Rescuing the Language of Faith, Michael Kelley compares the Church to a military advance team called the Delta Force. “The Delta Force is an advance team of specially trained agents who act as the precursor for the army. They perform secret missions, do the hard prep work, and engage the enemy before the entire army arrives. They are the ones who announce that the full army is going to invade” (p. 104).
I like the picture that paints of the value and position of the church. We are doing necessary and important work. Our calling is to wake people up to the reality of what is yet to come: the holy invasion of Christ and all his angels to take believers back with him to heaven.
This is serious business and not to be taken lightly. We have a message to bring to people that has life-and-death consequences: Follow Christ and live or face the death that is hurtling toward us brought on by sin and the devil, which our mortal enemies, literally.
Every day in the Church involves s skirmish, a battle of some sort against these enemies of ours and enemies of Christ, and we as the Church need to show the world that we have the power of Christ on our side to do battle with them and win. We have the very armor of God to protect us. (See Ephesians 6:13-17).
But what is also involved is the act of preparing the way, in much the same way that John the Baptist did in advance of the first coming of Christ. We too need to be the voices crying in the wilderness, boldly speaking about the Way, the Truth and the Life in ways that people will listen to us. I am not saying we need to wear camel’s hair and eat locusts, but we do need to portray in some way that we as the Church are different from the rest of the world and draw people into our congregations to learn more. There, as John did, we can bring people to be baptized, to repent of their sins and to set their minds on the coming King.
We do not want people to be surprised by the Second Coming of our King, but to be ready. That helps me to see in a new way the urgency and vitality of the Church. The work of the Church is not something we can choose to be a part of or not a part of. It is something that we have to do, that we get to do, that we have been specially selected to do. It is an honor and a privilege to bring more and more people to the knowledge of salvation won for us by Christ on the ultimate battlefield of Calvary.