Leadership in a Culture of Cowardice (part twenty two)

Do you find incomprehensible the pathway from the behavior of the Church described in the Book of Acts and that of most any Sunday morning gathering in the US today?

How on earth did the Church get from vibrant, exciting, world overturning, status-quo challenging, Kingdom of God advancing powerhouse to predictable, regimented, backward-looking, tradition-bound, safety-dominant, repository of religious relics it is today?

36 religious educationWhen were ministers of the Gospel transformed from courageous, God-trusting, whole-hearted, catalytic change agents to … to … well… providers of religious education and entertainment, chaplains of religious tradition, scholar-rhetoricians, and caregivers to those who claim to follow Christ?

What’s become of adventure?

I’m not advocating that we risk for the thrill of it, that we put ourselves in harm’s way for the emotional rush some get when doing dangerous things, or that we behave erratically just to break up the boredom.

I’m inviting you to the adventurous life for the advancement of God’s reign and rule in your community. This is not adventure for adventure’s sake. It’s returning to the biblically-normal life of risk and trust as we presence the way of Jesus in a culture more dark and desperate than we may fully appreciate.

The Adventurous Life

What an adventure it could be to…

  • trust Christ as you call people to distinctively demonstrate the way of Jesus to the world.
  • trust the Father as you lead your people off the church campus to love people and meet real needs right in your community.
  • trust the Holy Spirit as you confront sin so clearly and confidently those within your sphere of influence regain their capacity to blush. [Jer 6:15]
  • invite your people to take responsibility for their own well-being and destiny in Christ, supporting their commitment to mature in Christ-likeness.
  • love your spouse so consistently and spectacularly that no one would wonder if the congregation had taken her spot in your heart.
  • break up whatever fallow ground remains in your own heart [Jer 4:3].
  • commit to love as if you’ve never been hurt [Lk 23:34].
  • reach to reconcile with those from whom you’re now estranged [Rom 12:18].

…and do it all in full view of your congregation, so they can learn to live like Jesus from your example as well as your preaching [1 Pt 5:3].

The Adventurous Life

What might be gained were you to love that elder enough to challenge the irritating and demeaning way he engages those around him?

What benefits could accrue if you were really to dare your people to a lifestyle of financial sacrifice until it becomes the norm?

What do you think we perpetuate when nearly 70% of long-time church attendees give nothing in return for the services and benefits they receive? When fewer than ten percent of Church members actually tithe?

Why do you take pride in attendance numbers when most of those who come don’t contribute either time or money to the welfare of the fellowship, let alone the waiting and watching community outside?

The Adventurous Life

If you are in the religious education and entertainment business I can understand why you’d eschew adventure and risk. But, if you’re in the people-development business, committed to make mature followers of Jesus, I’m not sure there’s any other way.

Are you?