Tag Archives: christians

God They’re Just Not In To You. I tried sorry!

After another service leading people in worship, where I was trying to be relevant, engaging and even inspiring! The thought struck me, thankfully not knocking me off my bicycle as I cycled home.

The thought I pondered, as my wheels turned, was around that old saying concerning discipleship and growing in God, the desire that in the core of our uniqueness there might be “More of God and less of self”.

Sure God uses our abilities, and unique skill sets to serve him. But shouldn’t worship and ministry be less about style and more about experiencing God? Style matters of course and is a gateway, through the door which Jesus stands and knocks at, inviting us to walk deeper with him.

As a preacher and church leader, I am interactive and full of energy, I am the kind of guy that throws himself in, doing whatever it takes to connect with the unchurched generations and encourage the regulars.

I’m not  traditional although my style has become my tradition. I could have easily have just turned out as a more structured formal kind of preacher. I am uncomfortable, with these demarcations as they imply one is better than the other, where in reality I believe God can use both to minister to the faithful and non believer.

The whispered reality in my head for me is that after many years of serving God, being interactive, using video clips in worship, and the like. I find myself wondering what I have added to the kingdom of God in deepened walks and of new disciples. This isn’t a pity party, or self-flagellation, but I’m trying to take an honest look through the lens of time at the impact God has made through me.

My wife and good friends would tell me and rightly remind me, that I cannot possibly know how God has used me. However that reality sometimes is not enough, I look at the fruit of this thing called ministry, specifically in the area of making new disciples, and I find I am lacking. I don’t make the grade, or hit the target, regardless of how many courses I go on, the gold standard of new disciples being made, numbers anymore than a handful in the 13 years of ministry and 24 years as a christian that I know off. Perhaps I am being a little hard on myself! 🙂

Should I therefore give up in trying to make new disciples, or hope that new people might even come to church. Should I just stop reading the Fresh Expressions manual, probably some people wish I would!

The answer is yes I should give up striving to make new disciples, the kind of striving  that says it all down to me, like some kind of superhero trying to save the world and that assumes that God, and social religious environment has no part to play in the making of new disciples.

Instead perhaps I should be striving to become the man of God he wants me to become, using the unique skill set he has given me. I shouldn’t stop striving to be more effective, as one of Gods agents, of change and transformation, regardless of my style or the way I minister.

I shouldn’t beat myself up over the people brought to faith and who didn’t stick at it, but rejoice in those that have and are. Taking an honest look every now and then, asking the question, how affective am I being in the work of Kingdom building? What do I need to read, learn, be mentored in, so that when I stand before Jesus and look into his eyes. He and I will know in a moments glance, I couldn’t have tried any harder, and that the rest is faithfulness to what God has called me and us too regardless of the perceived and present outcome.

One final thought, would we strive the long hours, with and in God, and be content to see no fruit and instead religious obscurity. Thats not an excuse to do nothing. Instead as a result of faithful living, there were know new Christians, I wonder could we be ok with that, laying all our hopes of new christians and over flowing churches, at the feet of the one who says, follow me and I will be with you to the very end of the age.

Related:

Fertility Tips For Churches

Slave (to the schedule)

Retreat Is Not Surrender

Fertility Tips For Churches!

In a doctors waiting room John and Mary sit nervously, anxious for the news of their fertility tests, they longed for answers to their questions and fears. In a church nearby, a pastor sits looking across the empty pews in his church, he wonders what he needs to do to fill them. Two separate but emotionally charged scenes, each with hopes and fears about the future one for a baby and another for disciples.

The churches I look after, like so many, currently have a fertility issue when it comes to making disciples, it’s the singular issue that is paralysing our future, and we need help.

A couples fertility Journey begins in denial and ends with acceptance whether that is acceptance of a life with or without children. Whatever the Journey John and Mary take there will be an array of options such as IVF, various drugs, adoption or choosing to remain childless. This sort of journey is one not dissimilar that our churches might take.

I don’t think for many of Gods people we can deny our reality it’s plain to see for many of us, and it’s heart breaking and painful. This kind of reality check, can tear at the fabric of a congregation just as much as it tears at the heart of a couples relationship.

So what are the churches’ options? Recognising that there is a problem is a start, look at what others are doing well, research the local context, resist jumping on the christian idea bandwagon, listen to God, the community and the church. See how fresh expressions work might help you. There are so many options and possibilities but it can be hard to know whats right for your context.

Take your time, did you know that an adoption agency will not even consider your application earlier than one year after an infertility diagnosis. Rightly so in my opinion, social services recognise that there is work to be done, a journey to be had and acceptance and letting go of what was and peace to be held onto as they move ahead.

Just as much as John and Mary need to figure out what is right for them, the individual church needs to figure out and come to terms the right way ahead for themselves. Of course for John and Mary there is an alternate decision just as difficult and brave, that is to decide to call time on there journey and make a life without children.

For some of our churches it’s time, to sit and weep with them, to listen to their hearts breaking and invite them to move on to create a new life for themselves, because collectively they can’t make disciples for some reason. This is such a magnificently brave decision for a congregation to make. It might be that for those individuals they start at another church that is fertile and their hopes are realised in a different way as they are adopted by that church family.

The church is not dead we just have a little bit of infertility, and infertility is not the end of the story it never is, it is perhaps the beginning of a fight or a new life, it is the point of acceptance we move beyond, to the new thing God is calling us too, the bright future, the hopeful one, the one shaped not as we might have imagined, but reshaped in Gods design for us as his people.

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