Archives For mission

“The more I am around ‘Christians,’ the less I want to be one.” I have heard that statement many times coming from those who are not Christ followers. There are many reasons given.  Many times it is a general characterization of everyone who claims to be a Christ follower and is certainly not true of everyone who is.  That is kind of like a “throwing the baby out with the bath water” thing.  There are many times where there is a legitimate reason.  Jesus Himself had more critical words for the “religious” crowd of the day than he did for the “publicans and sinners.”  My friend Jeff Miller said in his blog post todaypharisee2, “The longer I live, I’m less and less surprised by the fact that non-believers live and act like non-believers.”  I feel the same way. Non-believers are suppose to act the way they do.  They have no spiritual truth in which to guide them, so it should not surprise us at all.  But many churches act more like the Pharisees, who wanted people to become just like them before they accepted them.  They placed high priority on ritual rather than a relationship.  They valued conformity rather than confession and image over integrity.  They dealt with matters of the outward while Jesus concentrated on the inward.

I think many Christians (and churches) have fallen into this as well.  We come to church, sing a few songs to make us feel good, tip God when the offering plate is passed, try to stay awake during the talk (which is another blog post in itself) and then go out and have very little concern for people around us.  Nothing that happens inside the church affects how we live outside the church.  If that last statement is true, why do we even go to church?  Why do we even call ourselves Christians?

God expects more from us.  He expects us to live like our relationship with Him makes a difference… because it does.  That is not to say that we will not have times of failure in the way we treat people, we will.  But that will be an exception, not the rule.   A pastor that I once worked for used to say “your beliefs affect your behavior.”  If that is the case (and I believe it is), there are not many people that call themselves Christians that do not believe very much about what Jesus taught.

And before you ask me if I am perfect, no, I am not.  I struggle every day being the man God wants me to be.  But at least I am struggling with it, many are not.

Anyone else feel like this?  Maybe I am being to tough?  What do you think?

The last of the interviews I was able to do while attending Granger Community Church’s workshops was with Jeff Bell.  Jeff is the Campus Pastor of Granger’s first expansion site in Elkhart, Indiana that was started six months ago.  Jeff’s passion for GCCE is so contagious!  Jeff sat down and discussed multi-site planning and philosophy.


Interview with Jeff Bell – Campus Pastor of Granger Community Church: Elkhart from Jason Petermann on Vimeo.

Thanks again Jeff for the time you took to talk multi-site! I cannot wait to see where Granger is headed next to reach people and help them take their next steps!  You can follow GCCE and Jeff on his blog.

drivein_banner

I love being able to learn from other leaders that are doing fantastic things for God!  Being in Wichita does make it a little difficult to get to see other leaders very often.  Fortunately, the internet has made things a little easier, and many leaders like Andy Stanley, Tony Morgan and Perry Noble are doing Webinars that can bring people from all over the world together to glean from these great leaders.  I just learned of Andy Stanley’s this morning.  It is called “Drive-In” and he has a few of them scheduled through March.  Click on the link above, and see if you can schedule some time to make one or all of them!

top_10This is the last post in the “Ten Things I Have Learned This Year.” you can see the other posts here, here and here.

8. It is important to remember that we are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, our church, and our affiliation (denomination, fellowship, whatever…).

  • I am not minimizing the importance of the local church.  Not at all.  It is God’s plan for us to reach people.  But, it is part of a BIG plan that God has to bring people into the Kingdom.
  • We have to remember that everything that we do as a local congregation of believers gives people around us a view of what God and His people are all about.  So, if you are some wack-job that preaches hate and intolerance (to personal preferences – not core doctrinal issues) than you give those in your community (and unfortunately, maybe even a larger audience) a view that God’s people are a bunch of idiots.  You also give people that are visiting your church, maybe for the first or last time, something other than the hope, acceptance and love of Jesus, which is what they are looking for.  As the people of God, we have to create an atmosphere that allows us to show the love of Christ to people in a non-judgmental way.
  • If you are a part of some denomination or fellowship of churches, that is great.  Those things are helpful for the big picture as far as home and foreign missions are concerned.  But it is sad when a pastor or a church get so “affiliation” minded that they forget they are called to build a church, not an affiliation.  I literally have heard pastors say that another pastor would have made a great leader an their affiliation if he had not been so focused on his church.   Excuse me?  Jesus did not die for you affiliation…
  • We need to have a big picture mentality that allows us to work with others to accomplish the work of God.  I like how Paul said it in Philippians, “I don’t care if they preach Christ out of envy or good will, the important thing is that they are preaching Christ.”

9. With that in mind, we should live our lives as if we are a part of something big

  • God has a purpose and a plan.  We should live to be a part of that, knowing that we were are involved in is God redemptive process for man.
  • We are a part of what God wants to do.  We need to see where we fit that plan, and dig in to love God, love others and serve both!
  • Why do so many Christians walk around like they do not matter, and like what they believe does not matter.  They walk around like it is a small thing to be a Christ follower!  Stop it!  We are a child of the Most High God!  Live like it!
  • Live your life as if the person you are in contact with at this very moment is a divine appointment from God… because it is!  We are a part of His master plan!

10. God is sovereign.  The end!

  • So many times over the last year I have had to just sit back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that God is in control.
  • I have had to remind myself that no man is bigger than God, even if they think they are.  No circumstance is beyond God’s control, even if it seems like there is no escape.
  • If I believe that I am a part of God’s great plan, than I have to believe that the things He allows to come into my life are also a part of that plan, and will help me to be exactly who He intends me to be.

In another post this year, I shared a passage from Job that gave me great strength.  I have gone back to that passage many times this year.  Job 23:8-14 says:

8 I cannot find God anywhere— in front or back of me,

9 to my left or my right. God is always at work,
though I never see him.

10 But he knows what I am doing, and when he tests me,
I will be pure as gold.

11 I have never refused to follow any of his commands,

12 and I have always treasured his teachings.

13 But he alone is God, and who can oppose him?
God does as he pleases,

14 and he will do exactly what he intends with me.

It is such a comfort to know that He is in control, and that He will do exactly what He wants to do with me to fulfill His purpose and plan!

I hope I am always learning… I cannot wait to see what God has for me in 2009!

top_10Continuing on from Monday and Tuesday

5. Ministry without passion is just you going through the motions

  • Seriously, if you are not passionate about what you are doing, you are not really doing anything!
  • God has gifted each and every one of us to do something that only we can do for Him… that comes with a passion.  If you do not feel that passion, maybe you are not doing what God has gifted you to do!
  • I am not talking about waking up in the morning and wanting to stay under the covers… or even just wanting to call in sick for a day.  I am talking about when you wake up in the night, your first thoughts go to what you do, and how it excites you!  I am talking about you standing in line in a store, and you hear someone talking about church or Jesus, and you light up, knowing that what you do for Him fires you up!
  • As servants of the most High God, how can we be more passionate about trips we will take, games we will play and sports teams we follow than we are about the God we are called to serve that changes lives and does things that only He can do?

Ok, again, think about it… God has called us to serve Him… how cool is that… how humbling is that?!!?

With all of that in mind…

6. If you are not passionate about what you are doing, you are cheating yourself, God, and the people you serve.

  • God deserves better than a half-hearted attempt to serve Him.  Jesus went ALL THE WAY to the cross, the least we can do is go all out in our service to God.
  • You need to be totally sold out to what God has called you to do.  People can tell the difference between someone who is passionate about serving God and others and someone who is just doing something because it is either their job or because it is a religious exercise.
  • How can we expect others to be passionate about serving God if we are not?  If God has placed us to lead or serve beside people, we need to exhibit a passion and fire what God has called and gifted us for.  The passion is contagious!

7. It does not matter if you are traditional or contemporary as long as you are following what God wants you to do for your church

  • I get so ticked off when I hear stories about guys that spend hours preparing articles and writing papers like, “Why such-and-such church is an abomination to God,” or “Why this version of the Bible is of the devil,” or “Why this music is wrong because if you play it backwards is says, ‘Read the NIV'” or something like that.
  • I seriously think when God sees this stuff He shakes His head and just says, “I said you should redeem the time because the days are evil, this is not redeeming the time, it is wasting it!”
  • I am glad there are all kinds of churches because there are all kinds of people.  If someone down the street wants to wear a suit, have services 6 times a week and sing nothing but hymns, that is fine.  I hope they reach people for Jesus.  I am not in competition with them, and it is certainly not my job to judge or critique them.  What they do is between them and God.  Again, I am not competing, they are trying to reach people for Jesus, so I am grateful for them.
  • Seriously, we should spend more time reading our Bible (whatever version it may be), praying, and building relationships with people so we can lead them to Jesus.  All that other stuff is junk, and does not do anyone, any good.

We will finish the top ten up tomorrow.  Man, writing all this stuff fires me up!