It’s a message that I needed to hear just as much as I was speaking it. I don’t necessarily want to start with myself but in this case my story just echoes the story of so many others. And (probably) your story. I had just said it to someone else. They were talking about the mission of God. How difficult it is to be a witness. How difficult it is to get people to come to church. How difficult it is to share your faith. How big and challenging the idea of making disciples is. I laughed. I nodded my head in agreement and then I spoke that I message that I needed. I was in the midst of a stressful day. I’m in the midst of a busy and, in my mind, important 4 weeks. There are fires to put out. Work that’s getting backlogged and connections that I’m missing. And I was trying to do it all myself. Carrying the load. The anxieties. AND SO – I desperately needed to hear the message I was speaking.
It’s a message that our leaders needed to hear. On January 21st a bunch of our leaders got together. We were wrestling with some hard demographic numbers. For example: only 20% of the population around our church (1275 Fairview) thinks weekly worship is important. OR, of the 80% remaining, only about 40% of those will ever step foot in a church. The remaining 60% will never come to church – even if you pay them. How do we do ministry in this context? We were also considering and celebrating that God is a God of movement. Movement is exciting until we consider the sacrifices, challenges and obstacles. Then movement is uncomfortable, undesirable and unwanted. We needed the message I spoke to my friend a few days ago. We needed the message that I needed in the midst of my life.
It’s a message that the inviter needs to hear. We’ve got a passion for connecting people to Jesus. We’ve got a desire to see our church grow. But for some reason – it’s so difficult to make that invite. For most of us we break out in a cold sweat and get the shakes at the thought of making an invite. Ok, Ok – that’s a little exaggeration. I just wanted to make sure you were still reading. But seriously. It’s hard. It’s a little scary. It’s intimidating. And so –it’s a message that we need to hear.
It’s a message that we all too easily forget. And remembering can change everything. At least it did for me that day that I was speaking with my friend. It did for our leaders when they saw how consistently it’s true and it would probably help when we are trying to extend that invite.
OK – enough – already. Here’s the message:
“I am with you always, the end of the age.” – Jesus (in Matthew 28:20)
Simple. Beautiful. REALLY all that we need.