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ring-ring: "Hello?" "It's me... God."

"A church succeeds to the degree its people see themselves as missionaries."

There are major jumps between the cold, the curious, the consumer, the converted, the committed and the called. (old-time baptist style baby!)

To some this may seem like rehashing stuff that's been out for 15 years... and it may be... but for me as of late it's become well beyond textbook. I could have repeated this stuff using other words 8 years ago but the longer I'm in ministry the more these words take on faces, conversations, bruises and broken hearts. It's become intimately personal and I think that's healthy. I think understanding all of this will make me a better Pastor.

Consider this a sneak peak into what's been consuming my mind for the last few months.

Various people as I see them.

Cold-
People in the community who know nothing about your church and or God. Frankly they may not be able to care less about your church or your God. They see the church as a waste of space full of hypocrites.

Curious-
People who have heard of your church in some way. Maybe they've even visited once or twice. Their opinion is open. They read your fliers but they aren't convinced you're for them. They aren't turned off but they aren't turned on either. At worst the see the church as a tax burden and at best they see the church as a nice place with good people.

Consumer-
Churches are filled with these folks. These are those who have bought into some aspect of your church. Usually its "good for the kids" or "relationships" or "I get fed". This person fills most of the seats and sees the church as a provider of services.

Converted-
These are consumers who also happen to have received Christ. They understand that Jesus wants a relationship with them. [Mark 8:31-37 peeps] They are turned onto God. You at least have their attention on spiritual things. Conversion has them saved but its a crap shoot whether or not you're seeing much else from them. They see the church as "their church" and they see Jesus as Savior... don't ask them much about the 'Lord' part just yet.

Committed-
These are the converted folks who for various reasons are not only turned on to your ministry, they are tuned in. You can count on these folks to do the job of ministry. Some will do the work because they buy in completely to the ministry, others because they like how it feels to help and others because they like the friends that come along with serving and showing up. These folks pitch in from time to time when you need them. They are considered committed to the organization of the church and they understand that Jesus is Lord but have a tough time behaving as if he really is.

Called-
These are the people who not only are converted to how Jesus views them... but THEY VIEW JESUS THE SAME WAY. They echo Paul's sentiments in [Philippians 3:1-11] "...I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ" These folks make up those who oview their invovlement in teh church as nothing less than a direct call of God. They see the church as an avenue to spread the gospel and their service is such. They see Jesus as not only Savior... but LORD. They have surrendered their lives and their leverage to making the name of Jesus famous.

It seems to me that the message of calling is not reaching the average person in the pew, the portable and/or the padded chair.

The concept that we are all truly called of God to fulfill a purpose with our lives doesn't seem to be making its way to the average person, at least in the average church. To me this is the common element I see in the success or failure of a congregation. It's not good enough for churches to even be filled with committed people. You can be completely committed to the wrong cause. Man-made goals find people of great commitment. It's only the direct involvement of the power of Jesus in the life of every believer that activates the Holy Spirit in that person's life to get them to the point that they re-arrange their entire lives to further the gospel.

When a person feels called by God to serve in a ministry they don't have time to complain and they feel the burden of failure when they don't show up on time or their ministry isn't top-notch. If you're doing that same ministry however for some other reason... it will fall apart and the motivation will disappear.

Aren't we all missionaries? We're all called to share the Gospel. In that sense we're called to be missionaries at every moment of our lives. If people viewed their jobs as a mission field and their church as the hub... their approach to everything would be different.

People not only need converted... they need to know that they are called.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, January 31, 2008

2 Comments:

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Good stuff. I found your site through Vince and am loving reading your stuff. I'm just starting down the road of Church planting and your site has been really helpful. Thanks.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Tally Wilgis said...

Jamie,
I'm glad to help. If you need anything along the way, feel free to contact me.

T

 

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