I went to a pastor’s conference down in Florida this past week – and thank you for allowing me to go – and it was wonderfully refreshing. I always have a flood of emotions at those kinds of events. At one moment, I am completely content with where the Lord has me and at other times, I feel a bit unsettled; maybe even jealous of where the Lord has those around me.
The Lord spoke several things into my life at that conference and I was grateful for the opportunity to be in attendance. However, for about the last half of the conference and the next day after arriving home, I had a terribly unsettling feeling. What it was, I didn’t know, but I just felt unsettled.
For a while I thought it was frustration at myself for my failures, and then for a while I was just frustrated that I was so frustrated! Then, after wrestling with the Lord and myself for a little while, I realized the source of my frustration: it was at the missed opportunities, as I saw it, in the ministry here in Whiteville.
You see, I was hearing stories of evangelism in a variety of forms. Some men were playing open-air concerts and preaching the gospel. Others were hosting community movie nights for those in nearby neighborhoods. I realized my frustration, and I am persuaded that it is a righteous frustration.
I get the opportunity to teach at least three times per week: Sunday morning from a pulpit, Wednesday morning at chapel, and Wednesday night to my youth group. Yet, where is the fruit? Where are the salvations? Where are the baptisms? Where is the demand for a new believers class? Where is the fatigue from organizing an outreach event that required God’s people to be mobilized? What are we doing wrong? What must we do right?
Our problem is two-fold: too much time is spent on mediating and deciding on insignificant, woefully temporal, trivial stuff like steak dinners, fund raising for a senior trip, and inter-personal conflict from people who, frankly, are immature and in desperate need of a redemptive, discipling relationship. At the same time, we spend too little time on reaching the lost, discipling the new believer, and seeing and celebrating changed lives for the Kingdom of light. What are we doing wrong? What must we do right?
We must mobilize ourselves and our people in a collective effort to see people come to know Jesus. We must not rely on the institution of CCA or the programs of Sunday School or AWANA to do this. They are not doing it because we are not doing it. What are we doing wrong? What must we do right?
It is my prayer and hope that by the elders of the church owning these ministries that the Holy Spirit of God, through our surrender to Him, will generate creativity and innovation within us to accomplish His purposes in these areas of evangelism and discipleship. I refuse to spend time on trivial matters when I see not a single soul converted to the Kingdom of Heaven in the last five years. My heart is broken and I hope yours is, too. Will you please help me not do what is wrong and do what is right, even at the risk of being misunderstood by those we are called to lead?
Just a man trying to save his thoughts and correspondence