The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

Never miss a thing!


Vital Signs: When we plan

Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’ Jesus replied,‘Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ So he travelled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Mark 1:36–39


I want to shout an emphatic ‘yes!’ when I read this conversation, precisely because Jesus is saying an emphatic ‘no’, and I know I need to learn from him.

There isn’t an explicit question from the disciples in verse 37 – but make no mistake, they’re implying one. Their question seems reasonable, and fits their very sensible plan – it’s just that Jesus’ plan is bigger and better.

Since Jesus called them (Mark 1:16–20) and they arrived in Capernaum (Mark 1:21–25), it’d been a pretty good time to be one of Jesus’ disciples. His teaching and miracles had gained popularity and reputation. It’d been a great start to their new role. It’s logical, therefore, that when they can’t find Jesus in the house, they track him down and remind him that things are going well in Capernaum: ‘Everyone is looking for you.’

Jesus, of course, doesn’t accept the invitation to head back for more of the same, but points forward to the more that is to come: ‘Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’

In at least another 10 places, Jesus’ explains himself with the same ‘I have come’ phrase. At the risk of understatement, Jesus knew what he was doing. Our Lord had a master plan and made decisions on the basis of this plan – ‘that is why I have come.’

In our latest book and resource, Vital Signs, we look at the role our own plans have when it comes to disciplemaking.

For church leaders, equipping people to follow Jesus in their whole lives must feature when we plan if it’s going to become part the church programme, and then have a chance of becoming part of the way we disciple people.

Equally, in both gathered and scattered times, we should all make bold daily decisions based on the Master’s plan.

And we don’t need to know the whole plan to have enough to go on to make our next move. Wherever we find ourselves this week – in work or in leisure, in places of joy or stress – we know we’re here for a purpose. We’re here to love and glorify God, to build up and serve others, and to make disciples.

Imagine the power if each of us increasingly made decisions on the basis of this plan every day.

Ken Benjamin 

Director of Church Relationships at LICC and author of the Vital Signs book

Why not take the Vital Signs Assessment right now, to check how your church is doing?

What’s one decision you’ll make this week, to join in the master’s plan for your everyday context?


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *