Ok, so now what?
My beloved Church, you probably thought these words, or something along the lines, to yourself or even prayed it to God after another Spirit lead sermon from Nathan Bently this past Sunday. This is a tricky question, but the answer is, simply put, now you go out in faith. “But wait, go where? Do what?” It doesn’t matter where, it doesn’t matter who or what or anything else. All that matters is that you pick and shoot, and be open for God to change the “plan” along the way, or even right before you start.
I know I dropped that without much buildup or elaboration, but I really need to get this point across to everyone. Young believer, seasoned believer, and everyone in between needs to hear this, be it the first time or a reminder. It is our paramount duty as Christians to go and make disciples of all nations. The nations in our backyard, the nations across the street, and the nations across the world. Answering the great commission comes in many forms and flavors, but at the end of the day, it all looks like making disciples. It is our duty that we actively seek out, with every bit of our strength, people to disciple. It does not matter how young or old in the faith you are, God will account for your lack of skills, maturity, youthfulness, wisdom, time, finances, or whatever you think holds you back.
If you are looking for opportunities to serve, there are more opportunities than you can count. Lifepoint is hurting for volunteers, in missions, worship, kids, door greeters, media, and the likes. And even if a facet of church functions is covered by “enough” volunteers, there is always room for more. Another note: it might look like everything is perfectly fine, but I assure you, it’s by the grace of God and not our own power that we manage to run things smoothly. Our Pastors, staff, and volunteer teams do amazing jobs, and they don’t receive enough credit sometimes for the obedience they display towards The Lord in their over the top service, but I also know they want, and in many cases need your help.
Look, I’m not asking any of you to throw away your responsibilities, or to dedicate all of your spare time, finances, resources, etc. to volunteer at church, in missions, or in some parachurch activity. I am asking you to give some of what God has given you, and trust that He will sustain you and even multiply a hundredfold what you have given. Do not be afraid or intimidated by not having certain skills or talents, or even wisdom. The Lord will use your obedience to Him to teach and give you what you need as you go along. My biggest piece of advice is to simply be willing and looking for opportunities to serve. If you don’t like kids, you may find that God will change your heart if you let him while serving in kids ministries. If you don’t like travelling, you again may find your heart changed while serving on a mission trip overseas. If you don’t like talking to strangers, you may find your heart changed while participating in some outreach programs. God has done greater things than this, and I can assure you the joy you will receive in serving Him will make you hungry for more.
I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in Scottsdale for Mission Connexion Southwest. I was blessed with many new connections, and many words of wisdom from a multitude of speakers. I was informed that Arizona is one of the top rated states in the nation for foreign students to attend college. Currently, we have 23,000+ international students. This is a huge opportunity for local outreach, and there are a multitude of organizations heavily involved in this. I also realized at this conference the overwhelming amount of resources and willing organizations that I as a missionary have at my very fingertips to go forth and do The Lord’s will. I find it ironic that the only thing holding me back from going across the world again to evangelize to an unreached people group is God Himself. He has me here to grow, learn, and mature and more importantly invest time in local ministries impacting lives here. Meanwhile, I stand before a church that breaks my heart in its unwillingness to get involved and live up to the calling of Christ. I say this from a stance of repentance, as for many years I have found myself frustrated by the unwillingness of not just the American church to serve, but the very church I call my home. I hope to extend to you now grace and understanding. Understanding that says, “I get it, you’re trying to juggle raising six kids and a full-time job. Those six kids alone consume all of your time in ways I cannot even fathom,” but I also want to give you truth to accompany that grace. Give God whatever He asks of you, and watch as He multiplies what you need to fulfill what He asks of you. You say you have the faith the chair will hold you if you sit in it, so go ahead and sit down and watch as it holds you.
It is not a question of IF God has called you. Oh no, He most certainly has. The question is, will you answer?
– Declan Thiele