Ever have one of those days that leaves you wondering if you’re doing the right thing? I kind of had one of those days today. I say “kind-of” because I’m not convinced that today was that day, but it was darn close. But at the end of the day me and Jen were looking at each other and just kind of saying – are you sure we made the right choice to be here, to do this…? Ministry is a tough business.
See our church is and has always been very missional, very outreach focused. That’s one of the reasons we came to LifeChurch, because we were looking for a church that we felt comfortable in and comfortable inviting friends our age to. I didn’t know it at the time, but this church allowed me the freedom to grow and operate in my gifting.
I’ve been in church all my life and I’ve heard some constants. Read your Bible, Pray, Go to Church, Witness, Give, and you’re doing what God wants, being a good Christian. All the churches encouraged me to invite friends – the problem was that I didn’t want any of my friends to come and see what went on, because it was downright strange. We spoke in our own language, had our own traditions and culture, had our own standards, and if you didn’t fit in, you didn’t fit in. We were natives, and we wanted immigrants to come to our land, but we did nothing to help them assimilate other than repeat “Read your Bible, Pray, Go to Church, Witness, Give… oh yeah and Serve”. (this is a generalization, not directed an any one ministry).
So we found LifeChurch. A church that dreamed big enough to be different. A church that valued relevance, relationships, people, excellence, outreach – along with the traditional church ingredients: teaching, serving, worship, discipleship. Here’s where the problem comes though. For some reason, people see a dichotomy between Outreach and Discipleship. Like you have to sacrifice one for the other – never realizing that they MUST go hand in hand.
In my view there is a greater opportunity for rapid or accelerated spiritual growth and discipleship IN a missional church. Do you remember when you first came to Christ? Remember the fire that fueled your soul and your desire to grow? What happens to that? It grows dormant from lack of use, just like a muscle that never gets exercised. But what if 100 people come to Christ in one weekend, and immediately are given opportunities to serve at the local church. Then the next week these 100 fresh & fired up people meet another new 200 people. They have the opportunity now to serve these people however possible, including telling them their story and introducing them to Christ. It could happen. It should happen…
But what happens? The 100 people decide that what they really need is to spend a year in a discipleship program, learning how to share their faith. They huddle together and start off with the best of intentions, but after a while they lose their fervor and their numbers and before you know it they are struggling just to stay together.
Then someone says, “Hey remember when we first got saved? We should do something and give that opportunity to others! In fact, I bet we could get 100 people to come here if we did something crazy and trusted God to show up.”
But then someone else says, “No we can’t do that, we need to feed ourselves and grow deeper and mature. If we spend all our energy & money reaching out, we’ll never be able to feed the mature believer. Plus you’ll have to water down the Bible so that they can understand it”.
And so it goes. Life is short. I want to spend mine reaching people for Christ in a way that speaks to them where they are right now, and use those people to reach more people and reach more people and tell them that life is bigger than they ever dreamed. Shoot, I need to hear that every once in a while! God help me if I’m wrong.