Thursday, January 21, 2010

Raising up church leaders...

I was recently talking to a colleague about a situation at his church that really got me thinking about how the raising up of leaders has become more “slot filling” than true discipleship.

It seems that a rather important aspect of his church has fallen apart because many people were depending on a single person to lead. So when the leader was unable to serve anymore, there was nobody to pick up the slack. And there was nobody in the entire body who was willing to step-up and use their God-given gifts to serve. Not surprisingly, the group has ceased to exist and an important area of growth opportunity is gone.

It is always sad when a group that exists to help people grow towards Christ-likeness falls apart. One major reason for this group falling apart is because there was nobody in the ready position. In other words, there was nobody being trained up to be the next leader. It’s a pretty simple concept really; leaders training their replacements. One never knows when God will decide to bring people other places. When this happens, (and it will), we should have others ready to step-up and lead.

In the Bible, we see that God not only ordains leaders but also has others who learn from them so that when there is a need for new leadership, the transition is smooth. Jesus taught His disciples throughout His ministry. He was preparing them for the day when He would be gone. The Apostles also practiced this approach often. When it came time to select a replacement for Judas, they chose from men who had been with them and learned about their ministry. When the Apostles needed men to help them with the everyday tasks of the ministry, they selected from those who already involved. And those are only a few examples.

My point is that we need to have people involved in our church communities who are able to provide leadership if the need arises. We as believers are not called to be bystanders; we are called to use our God-given gifts to serve Him, which includes helping with church functions. It is not only up to who we see as the “professionals” to run the church, it is the duty of ALL believers!

We need to pray about where God wants us to serve and become involved in that particular area of our church community. We need only be armed with our gifts and a teachable spirit. As leaders, we need to be willing to disciple those who serve with us and be prepared for the day when God moves people around.

Let’s all step-up and answer God’s call to serve in our church communities. If we do, situations like the one my friend recently experienced will no longer be an issue.

And that’s how I see it!

Thanks for reading and God bless!  :-)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Regarding My Recent Facebook Posts

I have received some questions in recent days about the seemingly critical statements that I have posted so I would like to share my reasons for writing them. First, I want to say that these statements have been made based upon my experiences with institutionalized Christianity, pop-Christianity, and various other versions of Christianity that do not start and end with Jesus Christ. Just because something is called ‘Christian’ doesn’t mean that it is.

Jesus ROCKS! Enough said. God is so loving and gracious that He has given us the amazing opportunity to have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. It’s an amazing blessing, and one that nobody deserves! It is a free gift, but if we accept this gift we better be ready to truly follow Him. Not only to truly follow Him in words but also in action. We better be ready to put Jesus FIRST in ALL that we do. If it doesn’t start with Him then it’s really an empty gesture to God…He is not impressed.

One of the most awesome things about Christianity is that it allows for questions. God doesn’t mind if we ask questions. In fact, the Bible tells us to compare everything that we hear about our faith to His Word. We may hear something from a Christian friend, a professor, or even a pastor that may not be in line with what God says. There are many godly Bible-believing people out there who we can totally trust, but God wants us to be sure that we are being told His Truth. God isn’t big on hearsay.

Nobody aside from God has all the answers. In fact, there are some things that we will not know on this side of heaven, and may not ever know. Bottom line is that we need to ask and be prepared to get questions about the Lord and our faith. If we cannot handle questions or criticisms from Christian brothers and sisters, how are we ever gonna handle faith conversations with non-believers?

Some have suggested that my statements are judgmental or too harsh. As far as judgmental, I am not condemning anyone with any of my statements so those comments are way off base. I am sitting in the sea of sinfulness like everyone else. Being a believer certainly doesn’t make me perfect. However, like everyone else, I have an opinion. On the subject of harsh, well, Jesus was harsh. And many times the Truth is harsh!

Jesus wasn’t this long-haired hippy that wore a skirt and open-toed shoes who walked around Israel teaching us to only be nice and to not make waves. He didn’t have this cute little storefront where people could come and be healed and where He dispensed warm and fuzzies. Dude, Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords…and He could be harsh! Jesus pissed people off, man! Jesus told it like it is - so much so that the self-righteous religious hacks were itching to kill Him…and they rallied the people behind them and got their way!

Yes I’m blunt and can be harsh. And many times things that are written can be taken out of context depending on how the reader interprets them. But I will continue to write as I see. I love the Lord and will continue to question and challenge anything called ‘Christian’ that I believe diminishes the Lord or His message.

As God continues to prune me, He continues to reveal many things that I have been unwilling to confront. Most of these things have to do with the watering down of the Gospel. I thought that I knew so much about the Gospel and so much about how the church should look. The fact is that I still have a lot to learn.

If I ever write anything that is contrary to God’s Word, I encourage people to call me on it. I believe that Christianity is the only path to God. We must be born-again, be true followers of Jesus, to be a part of God’s perfect Kingdom. I do not want to misrepresent the Lord or His message.

And that's how I see it!

Thanks for reading and God bless!