Founder and Writer
I finally saw the movie 12 Strong, the movie about the twelve Green Berets that were dispatched right after the Al Queda attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon. It’s an incredible story of bravery and valor in battle. Al Queda felt it was the worst defeat they had faced in the entire war. After 9/11, America wanted a decisive retaliatory strike in Afghanistan. The Green Beret team, sent for the mission, were to connect with a rebel warlord to aid the fight back against the Taliban to reclaim their land. The Green Berets had supplies, but they were tasked to use whatever was at their disposal for transportation. The Afghani warlord only had horses in which to mount the assault, so the soldiers used horses to fight against tanks and heavy machinery. They were outmanned almost 500 to 1.
The Taliban were ruthless rulers who were bent on imposing Sharia law and a breeding ground for Al Queda. As I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but see the parallels in missions and church planting. We send men into contested areas to take back enemy territory by seeing God transform cities and communities with the transforming message of the Gospel. This work takes courage and ultimately a dependence and trust on Jesus’ finished work on the cross through the power of His Holy Spirit.
While church planting today has lots of books, strategies, programs, and tactics for doing it better, the obedience to follow Jesus into tough places must be a stronger motivator more than anything else we do. Several lines from the movie really resonated with me.
Don’t Forget Your Reason For Fighting
In the movie, when the commanding officer selects the team of Green Berets for the mission, he pulls the captain aside and hands him a fragment from the two towers and tells him never to forget why they are fighting. We live in a world where an enemy is trying to defend his territory at all costs. He doesn’t want to give up one square inch. He destroys lives and blinds eyes. All the while, people reject God and run headfirst to their eternal doom. We fight to alert the world about the victory that has already been won in Christ and to invite others into Christ’s kingdom. That motivation is powerful and crucial to what we do.
The Only Way Home is Winning
The captain tells his men again and again that the only way they are going home is if they complete the mission. Failure is not an option. It’s victory or death. The Taliban have place $100,000 bounties on their heads. The enemy will not be kind to them if captured. Sometimes, the Christian world acts as if mission is a choice. It’s not a choice. It’s life or death, and we have been commanded by our King to fight. The only way home is winning.
The Greatest Weapon in History
One of the most powerful scenes in the movie is when the captain talks with the Afghan general. The captain gets upset at the general for withholding information that prevented a key missed airstrike that would have taken out heavy artillery and tanks. The captain tells the Afghan warlord that he is the link to the greatest weaponry in world history, American technology and firepower. The Afghan warlord looks at him and says, “The greatest weapon in history is this (pointing to his heart).
The world will not be won by buildings, budgets, bands, and great marketing. It will only be won through the power of Jesus Christ. His plan A for the world is to use broken, messed up individuals who are outgunned and outmatched by the enemy but have the heart and faith of a lion that God will prevail. We need a lot more heart and a lot less fear. All the firepower we have at our disposal is awesome, and we thank God for it. But, it’s just a useless tool if we don’t have men and women who have heart.
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