At the risk of sounding like a malcontent, I have to tell you that I am not satisfied with the face of “status quo” ministry today. It is more than that though. I have to confess that I am not satisfied with my own culturally-customized, market-manicured, theologically-tamed and tepid experience of God. A protracted three and a half year prayer quest has stripped my religious world to the spiritual bone. I am left with Jesus and more than I ever imagined. He is the Vision for the church and He is Life itself. Little else matters to me anymore.
When Christ takes His place, other things find their place as well. My loved ones are truly the VIP’s in my life. Family stands by when others vacate. Christ facilitates a more enduring intimate relationship with family … religion on the other hand can be family toxic … at least from a former pastor’s perspective.
And … those that I journey with … that has become something brand new and beautiful. Fellowship regains a whole life context as opposed to a synthetic, meeting or program-centric experience. Walking out faith is what happens in the everyday ordinariness of life … in our coming and going, our lying down and our rising … something that we talk about en route. The more we extricate our spiritual life from its intended setting, the more “faux” it becomes.
This will be gobbledygook for the co-dependents of structure and freedom for its prisoners.
You see, the problem is that we can’t see the problem. The difference is subtle but a system dependent faith becomes no faith at all and the difference can be barely discernible. There is just no life … lots of routine … lots of predictability … respectability and sensibility. Everything is right and reasonable but it is an empty shell.
For me, it all boils down to what God may have to say about the way that I have surrendered/invested my life for Kingdom purposes. There comes a time when each of us has to begin to listen to the voice of God within and respond accordingly. Rarely will that produce a repetition of the “same old, same old” approaches.
As God is glorified in the uniqueness of His Creation, so He is glorified as we continue to live out of that “uniqueness”. We are created uniquely to live uniquely. I have spent much of my life admiring what others have done and thinking that I should just perpetuate that in another location. This thought leaves me wanting . . . more . . . a greater experience of His Presence unleashed in me . . . and perhaps through me. That’s up to Him but I know that I can never be satisfied with what I see based on what I now know.
I also want you to know that I LOVE the church. I believe that God uses the church mightily despite her stains and wrinkles. We can’t always measure the significance of an individual life nor can we fully understand the ways that God may be using the Bride. I believe in a bright future for faith families as we thoughtfully consider the new ways that God may author authentic ministry in a world that is seeking a larger purpose and deeper understanding.