As an investor in God’s Kingdom are you being intentional or at risk of being accused of being lazy?
When it comes to telling others about Jesus are you waiting for someone else to take charge, to take the lead or make it happen? If so, why do you think you are, where you are, in your ability to show God’s love?
Do you remember the parable of the ten talents (Matthew 25:14–30)? Remember the guy who just hid his gifts away and gave it back to his master and said, “Yeah, I know you’re too scary to work for, so I hid the gold. Here, have it back”, then the Master said, “I’ll now judge you by your own words since you say I’m mean… you should have at least invested it in a bank!”
Now, I could be wrong, but I think when the master challenges the “wicked servant” he is implying, “You’re a liar…either you forgot to invest or you just didn’t care!” As a matter of fact, the NIV Bible calls the bad servant “wicked and lazy.”
Fact: We have the Savior of the world living in us, right? We know He is all-powerful and He gave us all that power on this earth, correct? Well, I think that makes it pretty clear, that the responsibility for church growth is on you, and it’s on me. It is on the individual.
To be clear, I’m not interested in churches “growing’ by filling their pews on Sundays, what I mean by our “responsibility for church growth”, is that God’s church…individual people…come to know His love for them and experience a new, eternal life in Him regardless of whether or not they attend a church service.
Every person wishing for the title “Disciple” has a job to do…
1. Love people like Jesus did (see the individual, share the gospel, etc.).
2. Help at least one person learn to follow Jesus (making disciples)
Now, here’s the exciting part! If you and I… and maybe a handful of other folks… got a hold of the concept of multiplication, multiplication laws dictate that in only a matter of 5-10 years our church growth will reach a worldwide scale. How exactly? By following the simple rules… allowing for leaders to easily emerge anytime and anywhere the love of Jesus is shared.
Special Note: This gets messy!
But I have news for you, God doesn’t work out of clean, scrubbed, squared away vanilla circumstances. He answers the helpless, the hopeless, and the hapless.
He’ll use a prostitute, a traitor, an insane maniac and a terrorist. So yeah, from our eyes it looks pretty chaotic and a stupid decision, but from the Father’s eyes, he sees redemption, the author of the first Gospel, one of his primary leaders, etc.
You know… “freedom in Christ” isn’t just an expression. Paul, the author of more books in the New Testament than anyone else literally said something akin to the following (since Paul was a Roman as well as a Jew, I always imagine his accent was like a New Yorker wise guy from the 1940s)… “Because of grace, ya can do anything, not everything is good for you, but…ya know…you can!”
My point is… no leader, man, woman, pastor, priest or elder on this earth has mastery over another person in his church. Jesus summed up all His leadership training on the night of His betrayal by wrapping a towel around His waist and washing His disciple’s feet.
We [church leadership] have become so good at keeping track of “our” people, making sure everyone is dunked underwater which gives us reason to notch another mark on our ego-belts, then the newbie is plugged into discipleship, (aka, volunteering) and after enough time we rubber-stamp them “mature” and if they’ve last long enough we make them in charge of something.
Do you know the worst part of it? At every step of the process, you are etching into these new believers heads, “We are ultimately in charge, do nothing without me telling you” or “You are walking a strong Christian life as determined by your level of volunteering”. And sadly our church leaders have no clue that’s what they are communicating.
Family, we are all brothers and sisters adopted by the same blood spilled over 2000 years ago. The church is more important to Jesus than any one person could ever understand. It’s called the Bride of Christ. And Jesus is coming for that bride one day soon.
When that happens, don’t be the guy who spent his life waiting for a priest, pastor or elder to give you permission to go find someone to love and mentor. Don’t be the lazy servant and have to remember where you buried that gift God gave you because He now wants it back as you have yet to do anything with it… I challenge you… be the everyday saint that took the daily opportunities to share about God’s love and grace with those around them.