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  • Writer's pictureJoey Hungerford

ReJesus: how will you radically recenter on Christ?

Radically Recenter

I want to reintroduce both myself and what the Eugene church stands for. Ten years ago, I was baptized in the Eugene church, but really I was baptized into Christ. I committed my life to go anywhere, do anything, give up everything, and become anyone for Jesus. The Eugene church disciples are my heroes. Who else has spread the gospel across Oregon, survived the challenges of COVID, and remained steadfast in winning this state for Christ? Maddie and I got married in 2016, and we moved to Bend to plant the Bend house church in 2019. We went without a plan, but through God’s provision and disciples' sacrifices and camaraderie, we thrived. We're honored to now be serving the University Church of Eugene family.

^Joeys Baptism

^The Bend Disciples

^Hungerford family moving to Eugene.


Like pioneers, we faced uncertainty, but with a spirit of adventure and a focus on Jesus, we persevered. We learned that as followers of Christ, our task is to hear His voice and respond. This loving obedience transforms us before God, fueling our faith and ensuring we don’t burn out. In our journey, we must constantly recenter on Jesus, letting His mission guide our actions and church rhythms. By looking to Him, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, we can navigate the challenges ahead, collaborate innovatively, and transform our lives and communities. Let's embrace this pioneering spirit, adapt to new realities, and focus on Jesus as we move forward together. Is this just church stuff you’re doing or first and foremost about your love for Jesus? We want to be a family practicing the way of Jesus together.

“My mother and brothers are the ones who hear and do God’s Word. Obedience is thicker than blood” Luke 8:21

In the following blog, I've collected brief descriptions, questions for reflection, and the sermon audio links from our recent preaching series "ReJesus", talking about how our Christology (Jesus view)—shapes our missiology (mission) and, in turn, our ecclesiology (church structure). I pray that the teaching, and most importantly Jesus' calling, can fuel you in radically re centering on Christ.


Christology

Our Christology (Jesus view)—shapes our missiology (mission) and, in turn, our ecclesiology (church structure). It’s not about new methods for the sake of novelty but aligning our lives, mission, and church according to Jesus’ life and teachings. This is ReJesusing. Christianity at its core is about embodying the life and teachings of Jesus. Discipleship means becoming like Jesus and experiencing his life through us. This means Christology must define all we do. As C.S. Lewis said, the church exists to draw people to Christ and make them like Christ. If we’re not doing this, all our efforts are in vain.


Jesus embodied several key "son of man" postures that we should also embrace:


1. Matthew 16:13 **Who Do You Say Jesus Is?** - Centering our identity and mission on Jesus.

2. Matthew 11:19 **Eating and Drinking with Sinners** - Practicing radical hospitality and love.

3. Luke 19:10 **Seeking and Saving the Lost** - Engaging in mission with courage and faith.

4. Mark 10:45 **Serving and Sacrificing** - Serving the greatest needs with humility and love.


These postures, when lived out, transform us and our communities. Discipleship is about moving from unbelief to belief in every area of life, integrating our faith into all we do. We are disciples, and we are called to make disciples. This means actively participating in Jesus’ mission, extending fellowship to all who seek to follow his path. Let's reJesus our lives and communities, living out the fierce and outrageous life of Jesus, transposing his teachings into our daily existence.



Missiology

Evangelism! For many, this word triggers a range of emotions. Sometimes, we burn out trying to meet the unrealistic expectations of being a gifted evangelist. This burnout often stems from viewing mission as a mere obligation rather than an act of love and grace. I've been there—doing mission out of fear or obligation rather than from a deep, rich relationship with Jesus. It's akin to a husband buying flowers out of guilt rather than genuine love. What we need is to recalibrate our understanding of mission, moving from a church-centered to a God-centered approach.

John 6:63 reminds us that "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life."

Our human lives are not destroyed by God’s life but are fulfilled through Him. Discipleship requires a direct, unmediated relationship with the Lord. Losing this immediacy can be catastrophic. We must seek fresh daily encounters with Jesus in order for His way to be our way.

We must align ourselves with the mission determined by Jesus, not the church. Jesus defines His mission, and the church is then defined by His mission.

"The church does not have a mission; the mission of God has a church."

This shift from a church-centered to a God-centered mission is crucial. Mission is not merely an activity of the church but the result of God’s initiative, rooted in His purpose to restore and heal creation. Mission should emerge from a deep, rich relationship with Jesus, not from guilt or obligation. Like a wife desiring her husband's devotion, Jesus wants our mission efforts to stem from genuine love for Him. True disciple-making is about being so devoted to Jesus that making disciples becomes a natural part of who we are. It is also through disciple-making that God molds us to be like Jesus.

Jesus' method of mission is our blueprint. He became a servant, embodying the incarnation. We must take on the servant's mantle, finding and meeting the felt needs of people, blessing them. Incarnating Christ is about embodying His qualities and concepts in our flesh. This approach transforms us into a people others can belong to, where they can see the gospel lived out. Incarnational mission involves going out and being among people, so they experience the good news before hearing it. The kingdom of God often breaks out in shadowy places, to the last, the lost, and the least. Engaging in mission means allowing our brokenness to be the soil from which God's kingdom grows.

John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."

Jesus' mission started with radical identification with humanity. Similarly, we must see God as near, integrally involved in our lives, and one who sends Himself to us. Our mission is to follow Jesus’ example, being sent into the world to be His witnesses. "Mission" comes from the Latin "missio" which comes from the greek "apostello" meaning "sent one." It is the task on which the church is sent into the world. Sometimes we define mission too narrowly, frustrating our church as they fail to fit within this narrow definition. Other times, we define it too broadly, allowing churches to never really engage in mission concretely. We must find a balanced understanding, ensuring our mission aligns with God's active engagement with the world.

We cannot call ourselves a church if we’re not making disciples. True disciples are devoted to being disciples and making disciples. When you make a disciple of Jesus, you don’t have to beg them to get baptized, come to midweeks, or evangelism—they naturally follow Jesus there. Everything is predicated on who Jesus is. Our mission is to align with His methods, ensuring we embody His missional-incarnational approach. Let’s embrace this journey, engaging deeply with Jesus, and allow our mission to flow naturally from our love and devotion to Him. In doing so, we will see His kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.



Ecclesiology

Søren Kierkegaard criticized Denmark’s state church, comparing it to "tea made from a bit of paper which once lay in a drawer beside another bit of paper which had once been used to wrap up a few dried tea leaves from which tea had already been made three times." Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” Without discipleship, Christianity doesn’t exist because following Jesus activates the Christian faith.

Don’t outsource your encounter with Jesus. Show me your Jesus, and I’ll show you who you are. Discipleship happens when a transformed person radiates Christ to those around them, because they deeply experience God’s love. To live the life of Jesus, one must adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.

True discipleship transforms individuals, making them fishers of men and naturally forming the church. When we prioritize church first and squeeze in mission, we risk neglecting discipleship. The church is best understood through metaphors like body, family, and household. It’s crucial to share our faith using these metaphors rather than preconceived notions of church. We are not responsible for the church we inherit, but for the one we leave behind. This requires collective ownership and participation.

What if we reimagined church beyond the Sunday service? In Bend, we tried various gatherings—prayer walks, service projects, river floats—and saw new faces join us. We must experiment and embrace discomfort to truly engage in discipleship and mission.

The Greek word "ecclesia" means "the called-out ones," emphasizing our purpose to bless the wider community. Moving from attractional to missional and incarnational models releases God’s people to BE the church. Jesus used the word "church" only three times. What is important about a corporate church gathering then? I believe the gathering should always reflect the purpose and presence of Jesus.

Worship within the corporate assembly is our response to God’s presence among His people. We don’t gather for a flashy presentation but to experience God’s presence.

Hebrews 10:19-25 emphasizes the importance of assembling together, encouraging one another, and drawing near to God through Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus said, “This is the work of God: that you believe in the One whom He has sent.” A disciple is someone who moves from unbelief to belief in every aspect of life. Our commitment to gathering as a church should stem from love for Jesus and His bride. The church’s transformation depends on hearing and responding to God’s calling, embracing His presence and mission in every aspect of our lives.

How will you radically recenter on Christ?

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