This morning I ran across this verse of scripture, “We do not wish to stand in anyone’s way, nor do we wish to bring discredit on the ministry God has given us. Indeed, we want to prove ourselves genuine ministers of God.” 2 Corinthians 6:3-4 (Phillips)
That scripture is the prayer of my heat this morning.
As a minister, I do not want to stand in anyone’s way to Jesus. I do not want to bring any discredit to the ministry God has started at Celebration. As someone else put it so well; the ministry I have is not because I achieved it, it’s because I have received it. Just like my salvation was a gift, the ministry God has planned for me is a gift. Because God has blessed me with such a precious gift as ministry then, like Paul, I want to prove myself as a genuine minister of God.
I am a mere steward of what God has given me. One day I will not have this influence. One day my time will pass. God has given it to me for just a little while. It’s not going to last forever. So the question for me is this, “In this short time God has given me this incredible gift of ministry, how can I best leverage it for his glory?”
This is my answer. I want my ministry and the ministry of Celebration (YOU) to beat with the heartbeat of God found in Luke 15. In this passage Jesus paints a picture of God searching and finding a lost sheep, then losing and finding a valuable coin, of a father making a fool of himself running out to greet his lost son. See my previous post for further comment on those stories. In each story God is willing to leave the found to get the lost. I don’t know about you, but I want to be where God is, not back in the fold banging my head on the wall.
When Celebration was founded it was on the idea of finding the lost, just like Jesus painted in Luke 15. This church wasn’t founded on the idea of getting other believers to come to church. It was on the idea of reaching people who are confused, lonely, and hurting with the life-saving message of Jesus Christ. It was meant to reach out to the lost people of the world with the amazing grace of Jesus.
When I came here 4 years ago this was my heart for Celebration, and it’s my heart now. To refer to Paul’s prayer at the beginning I believe genuine ministry continues to seek and reach out to the lost. We are to be busy making friends ion heaven. To be honest, I think in the last year we have lost some of that original vision God has for Celebration church. Somehow we’ve begun acting like church exists for us.
I have this incredible belief in the church (YOU!) to evangelize the lost. When I begin to make a friendship with someone outside of faith one of my first goals is to get them to come to Celebration because I believe in the power of YOU to witness the grace of Jesus. In you, as a group, they get to see Jesus with skin on. You have the power and acceptance of others that change lives. I believe that God never intended for us to witness alone, but to love with a mob love, a big giant group hug. I think it’s one of the best ways to begin the discipleship that leads into maturity.
In church circles there is an age old argument about whether worship should be for believers or if it should be for the lost. I believe in both, but I believe a church has to choose one or the other. Some churches God wants to be for believers and others he has called to reach out in his name.
Celebration was started with the vision from God to reach out to those who are not going to church. God has not changed that call on our church. We must be faithful stewards to what called has called us towards.