Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Presbyterians Seeking Purpose Driven Ministry Conference Intersects With The Present Future.

Reggie McNeal’s The Present Future intersects nicely with the Purpose Driven Presbyterians model for ministry. The similarities are:
  • The world has changed—whether we like it or not.
  • Individual churches are not reaching the potential that God has for them.
  • Christ calls us to be missional—working to lead people to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • The message of the gospel stays the same but the way that it is delivered to those disconnected from Jesus must change.
  • Spiritual formation will be a key component of a living, vital church.
  • God’s people need to be trained, equipped and released for ministry.

The easiest thing that a church can do is to continue doing exactly what it has been doing; unfortunately, what we have been doing may not be pleasing to God. As a Presbyterian pastor, I stand (actually, I am sitting at The Oasis) convicted. For too many years I was not willing to tackle some of our church’s dysfunctional habits. I have seen too many pastors (and church leaders) demonized by their churches (some of them deserved it). Change is always difficult; change in a church is exponentially more difficult than most other settings for change.

Christ never said that following him was going to be easy. The original disciples were beaten, tortured, arrested, ostracized and even killed for their faith. And yet, they gave everything they had to help spread the gospel. That is where the North American church runs into problems.

We have it easy: freedom to worship any god that we choose, a democratic society where we actually have voice in how the government runs and more money than just about any culture since the beginning of time. It is difficult for North American Christians (especially me) to be totally sold out to Jesus. He told the rich young ruler to sell everything he had—his things got in the way of him being sold out to God. Christ calls us to give up our will, our desire to get our way. Jesus calls us to follow all of the commandments—all of them, not just the ones we like. Jesus wants us to learn how to “submit” to him—yes, SUBMIT. We conveniently forget that Jesus said that few will take the narrow path that leads to heaven.

The past few weeks have been very unsettling. God has been challenging me. Am I willing to be sold out for Christ? Am I willing to help lead a church to become sold out for Christ?

And then a miracle happened and God opened my eyes…

Our youth group is hitting on all cylinders. The vast majority of the students do not come from families with a church background. These young men and women are EXCITED about Jesus. Every Sunday the back of the church is filled with these students. While our church canceled worship last weekend to work out in the community our high school students were right there—even with many of them doing a 30-hour famine to raise money for World Visions hunger programs at the same time. These young people didn’t just do the one job they signed up for—when they completed that task they went down to where the others were working and helped complete other projects. They cooked and served breakfast to the entire Graham Fired Department (even though they had not eaten since breakfast the prior day). They shoveled and raked dirt and gravel. They scraped and painted picnic tables. SOLD OUT FOR CHRIST!

Evergreen Presbyterian Church has turned the corner. We are beginning to learn what it means to be sold out for Christ. We have a long way to go. Call it Purpose Driven. Call it moving into The Present Future. Call it anything you want. I call it—pleasing God!


At 7:58 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

What a blessing your kids are!! That is just wonderful.

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