In one of my classes this week the professor asked if we (the church) were ministering well to singles. Everyone agreed that we were not and offered ideas on how we could better minister this particular group of people. I am all for whiteboard sessions where a group of people sit together and throw out ideas on how to do things better and more effectively, but there was a little movement in my heart while the students gave their input. Let me start off by saying that none of the ideas were bad ideas, and the fact that people were willing to step out on a limb and fearlessly give input was something to be respected. I know that for it is difficult for me to do such a thing, especially when I feel that I might be criticized for my answers. Since that day I have been thinking about that questions in regards to my life and ministry. Am I ministering well to the people that God has given me to serve? Am I serving at all? How can I better minister to those people? Here are a few things that I have come up with. Continue reading
We have all heard the phrase, “taking the higher ground”. This phrase carries many different meanings and applies to many different contexts. Without being certain, I believe the origin of the phrase is one of battle. In battle the higher ground gives the occupants of such ground the advantage towards victory. This phrase is used in other areas of life where the advantage is being explained. Not to long ago a friend of mine who is also one of the people God has placed in my life to teach me some important lessons, used this phrase do describe where we were as Christians when engaging in the mission God has given us. We occupy “the higher ground”. Continue reading
It struck me as weird when I got so excited that only two people showed up last night for the gathering at the gym. It has, in the past, been characteristic of me to get discouraged when attendance to gatherings or bible studies that I am leading is low. Yesterday, however, I was actually excited. I had prepared something to teach on, but I couldn’t help but see this as an opportunity to take the conversation to an incredible level.
I wrote the question; “What is stopping you from believing in Jesus?” When the two that were there read the question, the conversation took an unexpected turn. I expected there to be silence until I encouraged them to add to the conversation. That was not the case at all, in fact, they answered at the same time with different answers. The first answer was, “I just need some proof!” After a long conversation and some great interaction it was made clear to him that he too is accepting the fact that God is not real based on no proof, and in turn, accepting it as truth from faith. This blew his mind.
Once, they told me that they loved being a part of the group due to the fact that I “kept it real”, so I wasn’t about to stop now. I had no choice, I had to keep it real, so I spent most of the time explaining to them the concept of stepping out on faith and expecting God to show up.
We tend to ask people to make a decision based on the exact same thing that they have made their previous decision based on. They are taught in school about evolution and the big bang theory, and we tell them that those people are wrong and not listen to them. However, we seldom offer any solid reason as to why they should believe us. After all, if we are prepared to be honest, we too lack the visible qualities of Christ more than we resemble them. My friend kept asking the same question over and over, “Why won’t He just show me then?” I could sense the desperation in His voice, and to his own admission he wants disparately to believe, he wants a new life and is tired of screwing up the one he is living now. He just needs to see God, to know that He is real.
One thing that I learned while living in the trailer park was that people were scared to live a life other than the one they know. They can see the beauty in a life in Christ, but are having problems dropping their nets. This is where it hit me. What is the invitation of Christ? He invites us to follow Him, and when His disciples follow Him they see all of the amazing things that come with a life following Jesus. Jesus continues to show us who the Father is, to show us that He is the Christ. Do we believe this? Do we believe that Christ shows us His majesty as we follow Him? If so, why do we merely ask people to accept what we say? Paul says to “follow me as I follow Christ”, so why not say the same to someone understandably scared to drop their nets?
Here was my invitation to my friend. “Follow me, and you will see what you are looking for. I follow Christ, if you want to see Him, I promise He will show you some crazy things, but you have to follow. You do not have to be scared, I will go with you, we will follow Him together.” Don’t just tell people to follow Christ, take them on your journey with you, bring them along as you follow Christ. Also, pray for my friend, pray that God will show up in a supernatural way. Pray also for me, as I ask him to follow me as I follow Christ.
Last nights gathering at the gym was a pretty good one. I am ashamed to admit that I allowed the week of choreography get in the way of my preparation for the bible study, but God is God and He was gracious enough to allow me to speak semi clearly to them. We decided that we will try to transition to meeting every week, and kind of take it to the next level. Pray that God will bless that, and lives will be changed.
Alan and Deb Hirsch wrote in their book “Untamed” about the concept of pre-conversion discipleship. The idea is that people can be and are discipled well before they become professed believers in Jesus Christ. In fact, I believe that it leads to conversion. As I accepted this teaching based on my study of scripture in light of this question, I decided three years ago that I would design my cheer program to mirror the Christian life. I have been teaching them about working for a better cause, coming together with different people to encourage one another and train for competition. I have been teaching them to work within their gifts to encourage one another and make the program run smoothly. They have been learning how to represent who they are as members of the team to those around them which has led them to invite and recruit people to come and join them. It has been an amazing three years, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the future.
Last night I was able to reveal to them what I had been doing the whole time. Our discussion about who the Church is and what is the point was the perfect stage to reveal their discipleship. When I explained to them all that they had been learning for the past couple of years and how that related to the Kingdom of God, their eyes were opened and their minds were blown. That was a moment of great victory for me. I saw in their eyes the connection between what they have been learning all along and following Jesus Christ.
For a brief moment, during our time together, I was discouraged. My thoughts were negative, I knew I was going to fail. “There is no way that I will see an expression of the Church gathering here under my leadership.” This thought was quickly refuted when the Lord said, “You will, however, see a gathering here under MY leadership.”
He has orchestrated an incredible overture of events harmonizing together to produce a breathtaking result in growth of His kingdom through the small group of cheerleaders in Slidell, LA. Where will it lead? I haven’t the slightest clue, other than to the glory and honor of our savior Jesus Christ. Pray for us, as we prepare to gather the harvest, pray for workers from within it.