I've always been kind of a skeptic of guys like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels and most other mega church pastors as those, especially when they've written books and make tonnes of money from such things. I went to a small groups conference this weekend and it was from the small group's pastor at Saddleback church, Rick Warren's stomping grounds and I was able to see a different side. In fact the two conferences that I've participated in in this last month or so have given me a little perspective on the whole idea of it.
When you see the heart behind the empire it gives you a better picture of why things are as they are.
Anyway, that's beside the point, sort of. I think God used this small groups conference to hit more than just the need for community into my heart. The reality of why big churches (for the most part) become so big and why those particular models of ministry work is because they're based on truth. I thought about how I've always tried to "do my own thing" when it comes to a ministry model, or at least that's how I'd want to do things and that because I don't want to have a "canned" ministry that comes from somewhere else. But then a thought entered my mind about how even if I were to try to do it my way, it would still be based on the same things, the same truth, the same scriptures, etc. Why not attend those kinds of conferences to refresh your soul and your passion for ministry? To see how the truth will change the lives of people, because that's really all those guys are trying to do.
What does God ask of us in life? Surrender. Does ministry stop at the office or church on sunday? No, it's how you live life. I was really convicted by the Spirit about my lifestyle since I moved, I haven't even made an attempt to meet any of my neighbours...there's so much potential for good things to happen if I just take a few risks.
I'm not really a risk taker in general, I never really have been, but I've noticed that when I do take risks, even if they don't work out, things are better off. Today, I introduced myself to a kid I'd never seen before, with his family right there, I don't usually do that kind of stuff, not easily anyway. It was great. I talked to a few others that I hadn't talked to before, it's a blast, you don't know people's response, but you take the risk anyway.
I would rather live a life taking risks and failing a couple times but in the long run succeeding, than trying to play it safe and being useless to God.
All I want to do is see Christ's kingdom grow, people's lives change, and the community be transformed. If I'm going to be a part of God's work here, I gotta work on how I live.
It starts with choice, and then you can work at it from there.