I often wonder why God called me into ministry. At times it can be one of the most frustrating and thankless jobs. However, since I became a Christian I've become increasingly passionate about the Church. I am constantly thinking about what we can do better, what we can change to reach more people, or what are we doing that is driving people away. Unfortunately, I cannot turn this off.
It makes me CRAZY sometimes.
Others might say it has just made me crazy all of the time.
Recently, I was thinking about some changes that we could make as individual Christians that would completely change the Church. These shifts have the potential to transform gatherings of Christ followers in a very positive way. The Church is the hope of the world in Jesus Christ and yet it doesn't always reflect Jesus and doesn't always offer hope. If we were to make these 4 shifts, I believe it would be a game changer for our faith communities and our cities.
1. AUTHENTICITY, BE REAL - Tell the truth. We need to be who God made us to be and stop trying to put up a facade. We like to say in the church that "it's okay to not be okay." We say, "We know we are all messed up people."
We know it. We say it.
BUT WE DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO HIDE IT.
I think if more people would embrace their mess and testify to the loving grace and mercy of Jesus it would change the landscape of the Church. We need to shout from the rooftops our stories of being messed up people that are loved, forgiven, and changed by Jesus. If we hide our past and our stories of a messy existence before Christ or a messy journey with Christ than we are doing a disservice to ourselves and to the Church.
What if we knew that the little old lady who seems to be so saintly now, used to be an alcoholic, had an affair, or got pregnant as a teen? What if we knew that the man who has faithfully served the church for 30+ years was a liar, gambler, and a cheat?
Here is what I think would happen. We would see that if the grace of Jesus and the power of God can reach and change a person like that than Jesus can do that for me too.
May we let go of the burden of putting on the weekly facade and just be real. Live authentically in the name of Jesus. He has forgiven us, saved us, and set us free from our mess. We don't have to let it define us but we also don't have to hide it.
2. JUDGE LESS, LOVE MORE - This shift pretty much speaks for itself. The Church is often a place of great judgment. If we would make shift #1 and be more real than we would probably be less judgmental. Our capacity to judge each other within the walls of a place that is supposed to be built on the love of an innocent man who died on a cross for us is simply, unbelievable. This has got to stop. WE are all saved by grace.
"8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." Ephesians 2:8-9
Let us stop lifting ourselves up as we judge others. We should love them. May people always say of the Church that we LOVED WELL.
3. ACCOUNTABILITY - This shift is one that can be taken way out of context. Far to often, people become very judgmental towards others all in the name of ACCOUNTABILITY. If we would make this shift in the manner that the Apostle Paul speaks of accountability, it would change the atmosphere of the Church. Paul says that accountability is to take place among believers. We cannot hold those outside of the church accountable for what they do not understand. This is usually becomes a hotspot for judgement. It is almost our preference to attempt to hold those outside of the church accountable to the teachings of Jesus.
However, we are supposed to hold each other as believers accountable. This is not judgmental accountability but telling one another truth in love. We must be both grace and truth to our fellow followers of Christ. This is how Jesus lived and we should follow his example.
DESTROY THE SILOS - This final shift is a fancy way of saying, "STOP MAKING IT ALL ABOUT YOU." Sadly, this happens a lot within the church. We build up our silos, which can be things like our ministries, our own pride, our desire for success, our space within the church, ideas about how things should be done, a desperate hold on the "way things used to be", or our ideas for the church's future direction.
I would bet that whatever your silo, it is most likely linked to a deep desire to make it it all about you or to further your own agenda.
When we build silos they stand on OUR PLATFORM and not the platform of the Church or Jesus. They carry within them an inherit selfishness. Silos can destroy a church and any momentum that it has. The Church and ministry in general, is a team sport. It is a place for the community of faith to work together to further the mission of Jesus.
We cannot build silos.
We have to build teams.
May we build teams that work hard, work together, and work for Jesus.
Have a great day friends. Love More. Do More.