What stops evangelism? What keeps the local church from growing? Why doesn’t the Good News seem like good news to so many?
I have discovered the barrier and it is “me.”
As long as it’s about me, it’s not about Christ.
As long as I enter a church expecting to be served I have missed the entire point of the Gospel.
As long as I see the role of the church as serving me, I will serve others only as a hobby and when convenient.
As long a there is great big fat “but” after “It’s not about me,” Christianity will remain on its broad bottom.
My daughter texted me from the chapel service she was attending at the university. No offense, but chapel services at Christian universities have a reputation. They are mandatory for one thing, who wants that? They are early in the day for another, who wants that? And to be truthful they are often... boring, and who wants that. I feel free to say that because Chapel services include preachers and I are one. I would hate to be tasked with planning chapel services for young adults who are mandated to attend multiple times a week for most of the year. God bless those who are. I am much more capable of boring volunteer people once a week for a few weeks a year.
But since this isn't the first positive text I've recieved concerning chapel, someone at ONU is changing the perception. Here's what i read;
His name was Dr. Todd Ahrend. I joined the live stream just in time to hear him say the following to a few thousand students:
“The goal of the Christian life is not to look the part, act the part, and dress the part. The goal of the Christian life is not to Christianize your life; it’s to crucify your life. God blesses his peoples so that the Gospel goes to all peoples.”
With that Dr. Ahrend wrestled the proverbial “me” out of the room. Wow.
What a powerful message to a generation USA Today insightfully described as “growing up in the glow and glare of their parent’s omnipresent cameras.” In his book, “The Church in the Age of Crisis,” James Emery White follows up on the quote from USA Today by saying,
“They have never been anything but the center of the universe. And reality doesn’t have to bite- at least not yet. They can pursue their own individualism by becoming celebrities in their own worlds by posting videos on YouTube.” (P.72)
“Crucify.” Tough talk to the centers of the universe, but they received it well and one father is grateful his daughter was there.
Today as a leader I confess the presence of me.
Me greeted me this morning and reminded me I was older. Me was waiting in my laptop to point out emails that threatened the fragile construction of the ever present “me.” “Me” took notes during conversations so as to insure that “me” might be fed. I think you get the idea.
White quotes author Douglass Coupland.
“Here is my secret: I tell it to you with an openness of heart that I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God- that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love.” (P.66)
“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
I get it.