I was at an meeting yesterday, and we were talking about how it is (reasonably) easy(ish) to get the fired up, enthusiastic, pioneers and early adopters on board, yet within our Churches there are many people who are much harder to get moving. The question is what will fire them up.
The success of the Reading movement (from the Gate Church Reading) hasn’t been (I believe) just in seeing local people make a commitment to Christ, but rather, the real miracle is seeing a whole Church mobilised, emboldened to share their faith.
There is a “rule” for many voluntary organisations, called the 90/10 rule, which is that in most voluntary groups, in most movements 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people.
This shouldn’t be true for the Church, as the Church talks of us being an interdependent body, each bit working together, in harmony, to achieve that which Christ has called it to do.
This is a call for EVERY member ministry, we are all part of the body and bride of Christ, this includes our kids and our elderly too.
Yet the challenging isn’t simply to ‘give everyone a job’, but actually for us all to be working towards the same goal together, a goal that is bigger than putting on services and running events, but is actually about heralding in the King of Glory into every corner of his world.
It is interesting what mobilises people… it seems if it is actually the stuff that has eternal significance, the stuff which really actually matters, it is the hardest to get people along to. They’ll come to a coffee morning with cake, but they won’t come to the prayer meeting. They will do the flowers for a service but wont invite anyone to it!
Ultimately, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this, because we are in a battle, with an enemy who fights dirty, and he’s probably much more bothered about prayer meetings than coffee mornings, less worried about flower arrangements than evangelism.
The best way of keeping people from doing the great, is by keeping them busy doing something good ideally in a churchy building so feels more ‘holy’!
I long to see the Church in this nation, mobilised, energised to actually do the stuff that matters: prayer, people hearing the good news of Christ, Love, hungry fed, Justice fought for both here and across the globe, lives and communities change and transformed.
As Church we need to lift our eyes to the bigger game, where the conversation is not about rota’s, flowers, hymn books or other such things, but on the call of Christ to each and everyone of us.
What will inspire us to be this kind of Christ?
What will encourage our Churches to be the kind of Churches that Christ wants?
How can we move from being an enthusiastic sub-group to transforming this essential community?
If we could fire up the Church afresh, see her rise from her knees and live out her message, our nation would be changed, the world would be changed.
What will do this?
Prayer, pray for the Church, sounds bizarre but pray for prayerfulness, if no one else will go out and talk about Jesus go alone -I’m sure he’ll send someone, do it, keep telling the stories too, testimony I believe is vital to the life blood of Christ’s Church, it realigns our hearts to what we are actually called to do, it demystifies the stuff of the Kingdom, knowing God can use people like us, and he can, he really can.
It’s about speaking up, lobbying to keep the most important thing (Christ), the most important thing!
Yet discussion wandered to theological truths that maybe we need to be reminded of…
The first thing was the “Soon Coming King”… There is much of this in scriptures, the parables of the vineyard owner and the rebellious tenants who beat up his messengers and killed his the vineyard owners son, ends with the Vineyard owner returns (Mark 12). Or the wise and foolish bridesmaids , the foolish bridesmaids are massively unprepared and miss the bridegroom returning (Matt 25).
For me personally, the urgency of the gospel challenged me profoundly, I came back to faith following the sudden death of a friend, aged 19. For me the story of the “rich fool” () deeply challenges me, if you don’t know the story a the guy achieves everything he could want materialistically, and yet dies suddenly and actually has nothing () -“what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and yet forfeit their soul?” -The day I made my re-commitment, the preacher was (very loosely!) preaching on Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son, and asked the question, what would have happened if the son had died in the pig sty? -Which challenged me to get myself sorted out and return to my heavenly Father.
Often it is not that we have decided to be distracted, and we plan to one day, someday, do all these really important stuff it is just whatever, whatever, whatever… The problem is there is never a good time to do the right thing, there is always a small job which just needs doing, or something that needs attending too. Jesus had no time for such excuses, his call to follow required an immediate response.
Tomorrow never comes.
Good intentions don’t translate into real life action.
We forget that scripture tells us that “Now is the day of Salvation”.
So, let’s seize the moment, to wake up the Church in this nation, let’s fight to see her doing what she ought to be doing and not being distracted from the call that lies before us.
The King is Returning, and how will he find us, napping, or dressed, ready and actively engaged in his Kingdom business?
The King is Returning, let the Bride wake up.