Plumb Line #15: The 1 Takes Priority Over The 99

This guest post is brought to you by Jason Gaston, our Family Ministries Pastor. Hardly anyone embodies the passion of “seeking the 1” more than Jason. Be sure to listen to the rest of Jason’s message here.

For most of us, we don’t realize the value of something until we lose it. I take my TV remote control for granted…until it goes missing. Then suddenly we have an issue. (How did people change the channel before remotes? What kind of magic was that?) Or think about wedding bands. Most of the time, you don’t even realize you’re wearing it. But I remember going to Defy Gravity—a “trampoline park”—with some buddies, and one of them realized he had lost his ring in the foam pit. Most disgusting hour of searching we had ever done. Trust me: you don’t want to know what’s at the bottom of those foam pits.

Lost. In Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep, “lost” is the only thing that separates the 1 from the 99. The shepherd goes after the one, not because he’s the VP of the sheep club or quarterback for the Durham Lamb Chops. He goes after the one sheep because that sheep is lost.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so grateful that God is the shepherd pursuing his lost sheep. I wouldn’t have turned to God if he wasn’t pursuing me. You wouldn’t have either. But so many people in our city don’t even know that God is pursuing them. That’s why, at the Summit, we say that the 1 takes priority over the 99. It’s not that God loves lost people more than saved people. It’s that lost people don’t know about God’s love. They don’t know that God is pursuing them.

So to the sheep who is lost in the pain of a bad marriage, we say, “God pursues you.” To the sheep who is locked up behind bars, wondering if God could ever forgive, we say, “God pursues you.” To the sheep who lost it all in his business because of crooked ethics, we say, “God pursues you.” God does the pursuing, and he will not stop until he finds you.

Now, it’s God’s job to do the pursuing and the saving. But I wonder what’s wrong with us when we don’t share that passion with him. If God is so amped up about the 1 that he leaves the 99, why in the world aren’t we fired up about that, too?

This year, our Family Ministry has seen over 100 students get baptized. I heard recently that our college team had 20 college students profess faith in Christ during the first month on campus. In the past 12 months, our overseas missionaries shared the gospel with 4,000 people! All over our church and all over the world, God is seeking after the one.

I know you love celebrating those numbers. But here’s a challenge: who is your one? Do you have someone in your life you’re praying for, hoping that God will bring to faith? Are you leaving the comfort of your 99—your Christian bubble—to go after the 1, in your cul-de-sac, in your classroom, on your sports team?

Great movements of God end up sweeping large numbers of people along, but they start with one. We aren’t asking, “Who is your one?” because we are thinking small. We’re asking it because we know that if everyone in our church thought like this, God would turn our city upside-down.

Who is your one?


Plumb lines are a series of short, pithy statements that we, at the Summit, use as rallying points—both for our staff and for the entire church. They are a way to encapsulate our ministry philosophy in short, memorable phrases. Be sure to check out our entire list of plumb lines.