I can smell a salesman from a mile away. They smell funny. They twists conversations to benefit them and their product. Here in the south in the “city of churches” (although I have dubbed it more appropriately the “city of pastors”) men are constantly trying to sell their church to you. In stead of keeping their central focus caring for people, they’ve recruited selfish ambition to help them become “successful”, tainting their ability to be trusted and sadly tainting others ability to trust or have interest in God.
I’m guilty of this way of “doing ministry” as well. So if you’ve been harmed by such people please forgive us. We are idiots.
As I have been transitioning into a new call to plant a ministry, where I will be free to make different mistakes than my predecessors, I’ve begun to believe that since God is the one who called me out of my normal life then it will be God who sends me the people He wants me to care for.
The funny thing is that as soon as I began to really care for people with the kind of love God has for His people I’ve realized that it’s a hard road. It’s most like parenting, you care for another person and are given the ability to help them, but you have to watch them make their own decisions, many of which only causes them harm. They tend to not listen to what you’ve said, you stay up late worrying for them. You pray for them as it seems some days even their existence is in the balance. It’s tough.
That’s why I’ve decided to lay down my salesman outfit and my smelly hair grease. I’m not looking to make a sale any longer. I could care less if folks decide to come to our gathering. Being at the meeting is only a small portion of what it means to Shepard a soul anyways. And it’s not even a necessity.
People need to know the love of God, it is the thing that draws them into Him and grows them up. People don’t need hard discipline to make them disciples they need overwhelming love. That is the environment that will cause them to flourish.
As of late I’ve been wondering how I can spiritually discern those whom God has called me to care for. Would God show me “in the spirit”? Would those people glimmer? Have name tags
I got the answer last night. I went to a worship concert at a local church. As I was worshiping a couple friends came up to me to give me a hug. I asked one of them how they were, they said “It hasn’t been good, but it’s getting better. Can we meet?” I said “Yes!”, of coarse. After that short conversation I tried to get back to worshiping, but in stead I was struck with the emotions of my heart. My friend was not doing good, God was letting me experience their burden. I wept and prayed quietly.
That’s how I will know. The measure of love put in my heart for them.
Should I go out and try to recruit as many people as possible to be a part of “my church”? With a twitch in my eye that has come from a restless night of worry/prayer, let me just say… nope, not me. I’d rather build up the ones I have in hopes that one day I’ll be sending them out to care for those God entrusts to them.