I heard a great quote today by Bill Johnson. …”Evangelism is supposed to be worship”.
I look at all the great Bible characters that changed their world and they all had 2 components that advanced them.
- When in God’s presence, they recognized the contrast of their “undoneness” to His holiness…….then
- they were changed and influenced by His presence and the overflow of His presence, changed the world around them.
This concept rang true to me after years of being “in the trenches” of local ministry. It is easy to become jaded with life inside the 4 walls of our church buildings. We get “good” at what we do and sometimes if we aren’t careful, become holograms of what used to be the former glory of God working in our lives.
After a while, the fumes of the accolades of people don’t quite get it. Sometimes people have a view of God’s power moving in a service by their internal evaluation that you sang their favorite songs! Somehow I don’t think I was created just for that!
What has kept me going and actually recharged me in the last ten years is this. Ministry, I mean real stuff, that has eternal weight attached to it—–many times that happens outside of our Sunday morning events.
Myself as well as my band of merry men and women, that feel the same nudge to not do church as usual, have had great adventures that have really impacted my life I think more than those we have gone to touch.
Over the past 12 years, I’ve led charges like giving every kid in Wilkinsburg elementary schools backpacks filled with school supplies…..mind you that is 12,000 backpacks—explicitly packed on a “night of worship” in our sanctuary. You know why? Because my life played out should be an act of worship.
From our wonderfully cross-cultural congregation, we take black and white santa’s along with music, food and gifts off a wishlist to Holy Family orphanage. We take 100 people – totally more than needed, but that is the show of the extravagant love of God. That’s the whole point……His love is extravagant and they are worth it.
We are now working on an Extravagant Love Makeover day for 70 homeless/abused women in Pittsburgh. We will give them the full treatment…mani’s, pedi’s, makeup/hair and a brand new outfit, thanks to Dress for Success. We will then take them to a lavish banquet we are preparing in their honor.
See this is the way I figure it…….the Bible says that God is close to the brokenhearted, and if I want to be close to His presence in a real and tangible way, I find and touch the “unlovelies ” of this world and make a difference in their lives.
The beauty of this whole thing? We think we are going to change them, but at the end of the day we are the ones who are dramatically changed.
In this business, burnout is a non-issue. Worship evangelism is infectious. It sparks you to do more….not because you have to, but because you want to! There is a high attached to it. The beauty of a true belief system …..that is the only religion on earth that I don’t have to work to earn His love AND the only faith that I can call Him Father and have a relationship with the creator of the universe! Think about them apples!
James of the Bible puts it like this….
“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”(MSG)
Thankful for “pure” Christianity.