Right before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He left His followers with a mission. Those of us in church circles refer to this as The Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “ Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
He left us with a mission and a promise. This is why we go to the clubs. This is why month after month, we spend time sitting on dirty floors or in fancy lounges talking to women. The Great Commission leaves us with two very clear reasons to go.
Jesus called us to go. People will often ask, “why don’t you just invite them to church?” I often wonder how they think we would extend this invitation without going. One of the first words of the Great Commission is “go.” For me and those of us involved in strip church, I believe we are called to go into the clubs. Our mission is set. Perhaps you could argue there are other methods which may be effective, but for me, the call is clear. I go because Jesus called me to go. I go because I am following a Savior who left all of Heaven to come to earth. He set the example of meeting people right where they are, and I am compelled to follow His example.
Jesus promised us His presence. Jesus did not leave us simply with the command to go. He promised us His presence always. His light, His love, His courage goes with us. He goes with us. I do not have to go alone. Does this mean it is easy? No. The going is tough. It is hard. It takes stamina and prayer and endurance. It takes laying down yourself and your comfort to follow Jesus. But when you go with Jesus, beautiful things happen. Prayer happens in the middle of strip clubs. Dancers who hug you when you show up because you have become close friends. Managers who thank you for coming. When you go with Jesus, light overtakes darkness and courage exceeds fear. He shines through you and the words you say come out right, even when you feel like you are stumbling and blabbering.
When you go with Jesus, you can keep going. Month after month, year after year, night after night. You keep going even when the results are slim, even when the conversations seem insignificant, even when the night seems like a bust. You are not going for your namesake. You are not going for your ministry to look good or for the world’s definition of success. You are going because you behold the name of a Savior who is patient, kind, loving, forgiving and healing. You go because you carry a message of hope too important to keep secret. You go because one night the dancer who previously gave you the cold shoulder runs up to you exclaiming how much she loves you and wraps you in the biggest hug. In those moments, you realize, the faithful going is sending the message. The light you are bringing is communicating whether you see it or not. Jesus is going with you.
And so you keep going.
Featured article by Strip Church Network Member Amanda Schmitt of The Hadassah Group.