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Friday, June 08, 2012

I haven't led anyone to Christ or discipled anyone this past year...I just noticed that.

I have not led anyone to the Lord this past year or discipled anyone.

Some would say I have because as a pastor many have come to know Jesus under my teaching and many have been discipled within the larger church construct or through my facilitating in life groups or casual conversations.  But I'm not talking about evangelism or discipleship in those generic and general terms.

That's like saying you pray every day, but prayer to you is just being conscious of God throughout the day or letting your life be "lived as a prayer" to God.  Again, you can dance around that mulberry bush if you want, but I'm not speaking toward discipleship of this ilk.  These modern modifications of biblical disciplines are jukes, shortcuts, and often, for me, lazy loopholes.

The truth of the matter is that I have been very busy with church, but I have not been the church in my community.  If I brush shoulders with people, most often they are catching me "on my way to or from" church, a church-oriented activity, or a preoccupied mind focused on something churchy that I need to get done.  When I'm at the coffee shop, I'm getting things ready for a sermon or putting together the agenda for a Ministry Team meeting or volleying emails back and forth regarding who is supposed to be where doing what and when.

The result of this kind of Christianity isn't deadly, but it is deadening.  Is say it isn't deadly, because it's not really hurting anyone intentionally or damaging anyone with demonstrations of militant fundamentalism.  It just goes without notice.  Nothing remarkable, because no one remarks on something that "doesn't matter" or "make a difference".  You have to be different to make a difference.

When you just blend into the scenery and adopt a "Christian subculture-oriented" life, you don't hurt anyone because you don't exist in the people's minds you're trying to reach.  When I'm busy with getting God-stuff done for church, people are peripheral fixtures, background noise.  My mind is concentrated on a tick-list and if there is a momentary interaction with a civilian, I find my mind trying to figure out how to get through the conversation and back to the task, the destination.  Yuck, it just sounds sick saying it out loud.

I don't want to wallow in the quagmire of my failure this past year, I just want to acknowledge that church has distracted me from people and that is tragic.  It is a travesty when church activities and church services cause a pastor to lose his heart for what drew him to ministry in the first place, people.  

And not just people, but broken and lost people.  It's easier to just accumulate "found" people who are "together" and to hang out with the already convinced, preaching to the choir so to speak.  We are all prone to this default.  Lost/broken vs. Found/together.  Where do you feel that you would naturally gravitate if you didn't constantly take on the "heart of Christ"?  The flesh always moves toward convenience and expedience.  Easy and Fast.  But this is not the purpose for which Jesus came.

He came "to seek and to save those who were lost".

I want to seek people. (I know God does that...but you get my point.)
I want to save people. (I know God does that...but you get my point.)

I want to see people come to know Christ, and I want to see people baptized, and I want to see people discipled.  I want to see people flooding the church building who a desperate, dying inside and dead as a doornail in their soul.  I want to welcome them warmly.  I want to invite people to know Jesus more and I want to be inviting as a Christ-follower out on the streets where it matters most.  Not behind the pulpit.  Not on church turf.  I want to be a part of the "street team" this year.

I want to be bolder about my faith.  I want to lead people to Christ this year.  One.  Two.  Droves, if the Lord wills.  I want to meet with people to disciple them.  I want to meet with groups of men to disciple them.  I want to see hundreds saved this year.  Lives salvaged from the brink of disaster.  Lives snatched from the fire.  Lives noticed and touched and invited and engaged.  But you've got to notice them first.  And in order to notice them, you have to make room to notice people.

And the first step to noticing people is noticing that you've stopped noticing.

This is a note about noticing.

Note to self:  Notice.

7 comments:

DeAnn Eddy said...

Everyone I know in ministry struggles with this. We have changed our Church Slogan to "Making Disciples". That's what Jesus did. The staff are discipling one-on-one, or in small groups. Those people are expected in 3-6 months to be doing the same. It has become a very exciting thing. We are pretty good about reaching out to the community around us, but we all need new eyes to notice those hurting around us. Thanks for your iron slamming up against mine this morning. Love your heart.

XERO said...

Sometimes i don't think of the stuff that God has taught me as very special at all, because i live it everyday, but I think that we all have some insight to strengthen the body. Maybe we've come to glorify the entire process to the point that it seems impossible and we become unworthy in our own minds....at least that how it happens in my mind. I try to look at what Paul said about it. some people plant seeds, some water, but God brings forth growth. I know I plant a lot of seeds, and there will come a day when God wants me to teach others how to plant the same seeds, but today, i focus on perfecting my technique. That way, I'll be a good teacher. Not everyone is called to be a teacher anyway, right? So if we focus on the Job we have, then God will tell us when we need to take on more work, possible by send disciples. IDK My take on it anyway.

Jim A said...

As the shepherd must tend to the flock he must send his dogs after the strays lest he loose the flock too.

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