Do you know about the RightNow Campaign? Great group of people. Check out their website. I was at the LeadNow event they put on last week and took following note.
Here they are… raw and unedited from my Blackberry.
Does not see himself as a confrontive person, but sometimes it can happen.
Matthew 2:1-5. No room so they lowered the man down through the ceilings. His friends loved him so much… He was teaching the teens, but they didn’t really get it. “It’s just another story about Jesus.”. Dan started wondering, “Do you guys really understand this?”. But the kids weren’t getting it. So… Let’s go on a roof. They all went up on the roof of the church. They were then with Dan more as they were beginning to see it. Somebody in the immediate area started yelling, “Get them off the roof, it’s not safe, etc.”. Dan realized that if you are really going to make a difference, you have to take risks.
“I could not sit there and let those teenagers hear the story but not take it as a life changing story.”. This was a silly little thing I did, but the point is that we as leaders have to take some risks. Things in church-world are not all “hunky dorey.”. There are so many people today who are outside of the church that we had better take some risks in order to communicate them. I am not suggesting the wrong kind of trouble, but being respectful but change oriented.
Dan didn’t have a Christian upbringing. He bought a Bible and was trying to read. He saw a little church sign advertising something about a Bible study. He peeked in and saw six chairs, half-full with some elderly people. One of them named Stewart, invited him in, and he went. It was very unusual for him. He related the story of his starting to attend this little church and how counter-cultural it was to him (Dan himself was a punk rocker and very counter cultural himself). Over the course the following months Dan was impacted by this very un-hip, un-cool church. Ask yourself: who would have been best suited to reach Dan? We typically wouldl say people that were like him (punk rockers, etc.). That is not who God used. That little church impacted Dan. It was their best effort.
The question is: We do all of this stuff – but underneath it all is the question, “Is it because we are saying, ‘Those outside the church and don’t understand grace, is that the thing that’s underneath all of this?'”. Are we saying, “I am going to do what it takes to communicate in whatever way I can?”.
Somebody did this for every Christian. They took the effort to love on you and share the gospel with you. Why is it all worth it? Because they are worth it.
1. They are worth it because God felt they were worth it and sent His Son into the World.
2. They are worth it because Jesus said that they are worth it and prayed for His followers to be missionally amongst them.
John 17:15 – “My prayer is not that You take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.”
1 Peter 3:15-17. “…be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you…” Apologetics typically is aimed only at the believers – we need to be more with people and not just in the church.
Evangelism is something that we should be – not something that we do.
3. They are worth it because eternity is a long time and there is a reality of heaven and fell we cannot forget.
– There is a lot of great talk about the Kingdom of God on earth, but Dan asked about the reality of the ongoing Kingdom. Do we really grasp the eternal ramifications of eternal existence and the difference between the two realities.
Somebody “Did it for me,” (told me about Jesus), and am I doing it for others? Dan highilghted a number of verses about heaven and hell. It’s hard for him to think about hell, let alone communicate it to others, yet it is what we understand future reality will be for many. He used a number of Greek terms and other New Testament examples. He quoted N.T. Wright to confirm that he does embrace the concept of hell. He quoted Spurgeon, Patrick, Elaine (from Seinfeld), and Hudson Taylor.
Dan re-emphasized the main point: They Are Worth It. Don’t give up because people are worth it. Be willing to take a risk. He told the story of his resignation because he knew that what was happening at the church he was working at just didn’t prioritize those outside the kingdom. The pastor told Dan to start a new church with his heart for the lost and got behind his vision.