Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Wanna Be Like Christ

The American church has done a great job of calling people to follow Christ but have not done as well in helping them to mature. It’s possible that we have somehow given the impression that we can enjoy forgiveness at Jesus’ expense and have nothing more to do with him. Perhaps we think the gospel is limited to John 3:16 and not Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Jesus did, however, call for our obedience:

If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:15
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.
John 14:21
If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our home with him.
John 14:23
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,
just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
John 15:10
You are my friends if you do what I command.
John 15:14

Becoming a Christian is more than fire insurance. It is becoming like Christ. But this is not happening. Polls by Barna Research and the casual observation show that there is little difference in the behavior of believers and non-believers. Even on such big issues as abortion, divorce and cheating on taxes!

Imagine the witness to the world if most Christians became more like Christ.

If you want to “Be Like Mike” (Michael Jordan), you do more than just buy his shoes and wear his number. You practice dribbling, passing, shooting and defense. You observe his moves and mimic them.

It’s the same if you want to be like Christ. Observe what Christ did and practice it: prayer, fasting, serving, and quoting the Scripture from memory.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is
—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Friday, September 07, 2007

Missional Churches Demonstrate a Bias to Action

Coaches and business leaders have noticed that high achievers have a bias to action. They can't wait to get started and want to take action now.

People who have a record of successful achievement in sports, business or any other field display a can-do attitude. Their motto is, “Strike while the iron is hot!” While some people have a need to plan out all the details before acting, high achievers tend to jump into projects, making adjustments along the way.

This same attitude can transfer into ministry. When encountering a man born blind (John 9), Jesus’ disciples wanted to discuss the circumstances of the situation, Jesus demonstrated a bias to action by healing the man. Jesus taught to act whenever confronted by an opportunity, whether it is feeding a crowd or healing one person.

Peter also demonstrated this bias to action. When confronted by a crowd that gathered on the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached the gospel (Acts 2). When a lame beggar asked for money, Peter healed him (Acts 3).

A missional church should be able to take quick action when a ministry opportunity presents itself. If you need to wait for the next business or board meeting, the opportunity will disappear. If you are afraid about what a few of the more critical members will think, little will ever get done.

When church leaders see a ministry opportunity and ask, “What would Jesus Do?” instead of what will Mr. X think, things happen. In one church a family called and asked if the church had a nursery. Although the nursery had not been used for some time, the pastor said yes and made sure it was cleaned and staffed that Sunday. That was the beginning of a growing nursery ministry.

People in a missional church
- see a need and fill it
- anticipate a problem and head it off
- make adjustments to improve ministries
- are not afraid of failure