It has been a while since I have had an experience that was hard to put into words, viagra Verge 13 was one of those experiences. It was both personally and pastorally refreshing and challenging. I think that was true for each one of the staff who was the conference.
Personally, sale I was reminded that living out a disciple-making lifestyle requires community but is not dependent upon others. I had to repent of letting the church become a god (yes little g) in my life. So much of my personal time and energy has gone into Hope that I have been unhealthy for the past few months. My mission is not to build the church, it is to build disciples of Christ. I was challenged to re-align my life on the mission to make disciples and not make church. I can’t wait to spend time talking with my family about what this could mean for us.
I was also reminded that everything really is about Jesus. How do I view each situation I am in as a parent, at work, with friends and put Jesus at the center. Wow, this has incredible opportunity to impact conversations and ensure that those around me know I am a Christ follower. It has been really exciting to try and bring this viewpoint into every conversation over the past few days.
As a pastor, I was also challenged. As Hope Church we have been wrestling with our identity, mission, and vision over the past few years. At this conference, I was clearly reminded that God has called us, as a church, to be making disciples. A church can have lots of ‘products’ from which we take our identity (programs, buildings, people) but what Christ has called us to is being disciples. Our DNA needs to be centered on this.
We struggle as a church because want program to make disciples. Unfortunately, the church (not just Hope but church culture the past 25 years) has brought this own mindset on itself. It doesn’t take long when studying the life of Christ to see that discipleship demands more than program; it requires life on life. Program is an important tool for churches but it is not the ends to disciple making.
We also have people who find their identity in the past. This is the hardest group for me to relate to since my mind is always in the future. A person whose identity in found in the past struggles to make disciples now because the are focused on the past. We have to re-orient ourselves to what God is calling us to now. I can relate to this one because I tend to want to work on what God is calling me to in the future, sometimes at the expense of the now. So who is God calling you to invest in and with whom is God calling you to do it?
Our greatest challenge may be that disciple making requires lives of margin. We like living busy lives. Margin may mean creating space in our schedule or it may mean better using the schedules we already have. If we are going to be relationship centered we need to be invested in the lives of one another and those who do not yet know the truth about who Jesus is.
Well, as you see, Verge was impacting. Like every conference, the real challenge is sorting through the mountain of incredible information and putting it into real life and ministry. You can pray for the staff and me as we try to do that this week.