meaningless?

i’ve spent the past two days at meetings with other pastors. there were some really good people involved in the meetings but that’s not what struck me. instead, i was hit by what we talked about. we talked about things that pastors care about and basically nobody else gives a rip on one way or the other. i’m sure this happens anytime you have a meeting that is specific to one profession. for example, i would imagine that when engineers get together and talk for business reasons that the talk is probably about esoteric engineering type things (this is a conversation that i am very glad i have never been a part of). i would imagine that when police officers get together they talk about enforcing the law, giving me tickets, and things like that. so it doesn’t really surprise me too much that when pastors get together they talk about pastoring stuff.

the odd thing was that both days were supposed to be about reaching new people with the message of CHRIST, and while we talked about some interesting things, i don’t remember talking about any of the same subjects that i have discussed with many of the nonCHRISTians i’ve met within the Point area. we didn’t touch on any of the same subjects.

it would be real easy for me to sound real with fit by just ending my post there. after all i would be the one that noticed how out of touch we were. but i need to point out that i was in both of those groups. i could have helped lead the discussion. instead, i sat there and thought how out of touch we all were. what a loser i am.

tomorrow i go to meet with another set of pastors (this is a very atypical week for me – heck it’s an atypical month). hopefully i’ll do better then.

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6 Replies to “meaningless?”

  1. Amen brother. I remember having the same thought during my last days on church staff. Now, when I talk with young guys going into the ministry I stress one major thing: spend time with lost people. Get out of the bubble and into their lives. Don’t preach, don’t judge, just get to know them. Live in their shoes for a while. When you graduate, you may know Greek and Hebrew, but will you know how to communicate Christ to a lost and hurting world?

    When I left the ministry I went to work for Starbucks. It didn’t take me long to realize how the world really views church people. It didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t know how to share my faith with them. I was ashamed at all we did in the church that took our people’s eyes off the world. No wonder lost people don’t come to church. I now have friends that are gay, smoke pot, are divorced, sleep around, and drink way too much, way too often. I’ve spent two years getting to know them. Building a relationship with them, not preaching to them or telling them they are going straight to hell. Sharing life with them. And contrary to popular belief, they haven’t converted me to their way of life. I’m not sinning more now. In fact, I love Jesus more now than ever. I love them more than I would have as a full time minister.

    And, you know what? Through the relationship I built with them, God has allowed me to speak truth to them. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I got to share Christ with John (a divorcee who never would darken the door of a church). I shared Christ with him outside of a bar. And a few Sunday nights ago my friend Jane (a lesbian) came to church with me after months and months of planting the seeds. Who IS going to reach the Johns and Janes of this world? Are bubble Christians? Do we just expect lost people to just show up at church one day? Believe me when I say this: they will not. We must, must, must develop a passion for the lost. Cultivate a deep sense of hurting, of connection with lost people.

    You know, I remember the first time I saw the movie “Crash”. It hit me hard. I couldn’t help but see the world’s need for Christ. There is a lost and hurting world out there. We need to connect with that, seek that, we need to ask God to give us eyes to see that.

    Next time you’re at Wal-mart, ask God to give you eyes that see the needs. When you get there, you’ll know. You’ll begin to see what Jesus saw. No wonder he was a man of sorrow. I ask these seminary students if they are willing to do what it takes to reach people. It takes time, a lot of it. Months, and months. Years even. Can YOU be consistent that long? It’s a lot more difficult to do that than to go to someone you don’t know, on a Tuesday night, knock on their door and ask them “Have you come to know Jesus in a personal way or are you still in the process?” and invite them to church. They won’t see you again. But what if they saw you everyday? Would they want to be a Christian?

    As hard as full-time ministry is, it a lot easier than living Christ in the real world. I tell these students, yes, you may be called to full-time service one day, but now, while you’re preparing, cultivate a passion for the lost. Stop hanging out with the sheltered Christians all the time and flesh out your faith around a club-hopping jock or a girls-gone-wild party chick so that you’ll actually have something to say when you are a pastor. Maybe then you’ll know what to say to the congregation, because you’ll have been there. You won’t have to pretend.

    That’s one reason why I hang out at the fraternity. The other night, because I had fostered a relationship him, this kid opened up and told me how his alcoholic dad attempted to kill his younger brother, cut him across the chest and stabbed him. I talked with him and a few days later he came to me asking about Christ. Amazing!

    I have a new philosophy towards ministry. I personally believe that all pastors should have a part-time job at Starbucks to keep them grounded. What do you think?

  2. You’re an elitist! (I type this as I sit in a local coffee shop.) I worked at the bux for the health care benefits: $102/ month for family coverage (top of the line medical, dental and vision). I was paying $800/month at the church.

    But yes, either one will work!

  3. By the way, we found Chin White! He’s in California. Yesterday was the twenty year anniversary. Twenty, can you believe it?

  4. hard to believe it’s been 20 years. CHIN! i hope he’s doing well. remember that we always put him in charge of the homecoming sheet decorating contest because of the humor that would ensue during announcements?

  5. true that! hey, check out this guy’s blog… http://www.dontcallmeveronica.blogspot.com/ His name is Tony Myles. i stumbled across his blog a few years ago, started reading it, made a few comments and eventually we started talking on the phone. crazy, huh? anyway, as i read your blog i am constantly reminded of him. he is on a journey similar to yours. both of you moving to a new place to start a church from scratch. you might benefit to reading his posts and realizing you are not alone in your feelings as you step out into scary territory. i really like his philosophy of ministry, and sense of humor. maybe you will too. he used to be a youth minister at willow creek.

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