Several years ago, I was encouraging a middle aged couple to host a Bible study in their home. They asked if I was planning on coming. I said I wasn’t. They were clearly hesitant, uncertain they were qualified to host the study. I asked them how long they had been Christians and attending the church. I don’t remember their exact answer, but it was decades. Then I asked them how much longer it might take for them to be qualified. If it were decades more, they might die before they were ready.
As it turned out, they agreed to host the study and, even after I left that church assignment, the group in their home continued. Truthfully, the group wound up being less of a study and more of a Jesus community. I don’t know about you, but I call that church.
When Will You Graduate?
Let me ask a question: When will you graduate from church? What I mean is, how many years of attending services and listening to sermons will it take to qualify you for ministry? Four, as it takes for many college degrees? Six? Ten? Twenty? For the twelve disciples it took three (and being filled with the Spirit). So, how many more years before you strike out with a few others and live the gospel of the kingdom?
What’s holding you back? You don’t know enough. What? Haven’t you been listening all these years? Haven’t you been filled with the Spirit? And, admit it, haven’t you wondered if there wasn’t more to the Christian life than just teaching and being taught? Haven’t you yearned for a faith that was a bit more—how can I say it—exciting, even risky? Anyway, don’t you know enough experienced Christ-followers that you can run to if you get in over your head? And, of course, you do have the Bible. There’s lots of practical advice about kingdom living in there.
Come on. It’s nearly June. Lots of graduations in the next couple of months. Kids moving on with their lives. What about you? Isn’t it time to graduate? Stop just going to church. Be the church.* You don’t need permission for that. Jesus already granted it. What you need is courage.
More to follow…
* Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you must leave your present fellowship. We hang out with some really cool “real churches,” in addition to the house churches. I’m just saying you may need to spend less time there. Moreover, if your present church is more interested in keeping you coming to services than releasing you to do the work of the ministry, then the leadership needs to review their job description (Ephesians 4:12). Just saying…