But if he’s going to use us to draw people who are far from him, it means we can’t keep doing business—or church—as usual.
I’m thrilled that our average Sunday attendance is up by 20-25% versus a year ago. I’m excited that we’ve had first-time guests almost every week. And I’m practically ecstatic that half a dozen people new to The Journey have become regular attenders over the past seven months! But do you want to know something? Almost every one of those people already knows Jesus. Almost every one has come to us from another church, even if they just moved to our area.
Don’t get me wrong: we need committed followers of Jesus to join us in our mission; men and women ready and willing to storm the gates of hell! But I’m pretty sure God is more interested in getting people into his kingdom for the first time than he is in seeing moving vans taking Christians from one church to another. And I’m pretty sure that’s what he wants us to be interested in, too.
If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll keep getting what we’re getting: more Christians coming to The Journey from other churches. But if we’re going to see God’s kingdom grow, then we need to draw people who are from from him, who don’t know Jesus. And that’s going to mean leaving behind much of what is familiar and comfortable. Whether it’s chairs or paint, habits or traditions, songs or schedules, we’re going to need to let God change us – to pull us, stretch us, challenge us.
So what’s it going to take to draw people who are far from God? Prayer, of course. I need to grow my own prayer life. Maybe you do, too. But let’s not use prayer as a cop-out. We shouldn’t bother praying if we’re not willing to be an answer to our own prayer. And being that answer will mean change. And discomfort. Upheaval. Unselfishness. Discipline. Work. Intentionality.
Will it be worth it? YES! I’m convinced that as we pray and allow God to transform us, we’ll see lives around us radically transformed. Marriages will be restored. Addicts will find release. Children, youth, and adults will follow Jesus. And we’ll need to fill the baptistry again!
Are you ready? Are you with me? Let’s start storming those gates!