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Called to be learners and missionaries

by Betsy Carlson (Editor, WordAlone Network)

April, 2003

In his closing remarks Saturday, WordAlone Network convention keynote speaker Leonard Sweet told his listeners in Roseville, Minn., to minister outside the box, to be learners and to be missionaries to places "where people are not."

"If there is one thing that I hope you would remember," he said, "it would be that I've called you to reach out to where people are not, where people are not what God is calling them to be."

He essentially cautioned them not to buy into the prevailing "tell it like it is" and "meet them where they're at" currents but rather to "tell it like God wants it to be."

"Give them God's dream, not the American dream and not the western dream," he stated.

"I believe in the absolute truth," he affirmed. "We better believe in the absolute truth. Jesus is the absolute truth, not a way, but the one way, the truth and the life. It's not about me, it's not about you. It's not about the church. It is about Jesus, the way the truth and the life."

Sweet told of being knocked off his "learnedness horse" that he rode as a professor and then becoming a "learner." He didn't go into detail, but said it had happened in 1986 and '87 and ever since then he has been "trying to get my ministry out of the box."

"When I was learned, knowledge was everything," he said, "now that I'm a learner, kindness is everything. When I was learned, I loved to talk, now that I'm a learner I'm slow to speak and quick to listen."

And from whom does he learn?

"I take seriously my master's words: 'Learn from me,'" said Sweet. "Don't take it from me. Take it only from the Spirit who makes clear the truth of Jesus."

He reminded the WordAlone audience that the word disciple means "learner." Tying that thought to the Great Commission, "go and make disciples," Sweet commissioned them to be not just a priesthood of all believers, but also missionaries.