Why are we perceived as boring Christians?
How did we get to the place where we systematize and professionalize following Jesus? This can’t be what he had in mind when he said in John 20:21, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” How did so many become career Jesus people but seldom bother to love our neighbors?
I challenge you to take time to pray about how the Father will lead you away from Jesus career activities and toward how you can love those He placed around you. Perhaps you could take a moment now and ask the Spirit to bring to your mind the neighbors He would move you toward. Who is He prompting you toward? I guarantee that He is already working with someone nearby you. If you seek this leading, He will highlight who you should engage with?
If you embrace this kind of faith, you will not be a boring Christian.
No Boring Christians – The Challenge
I recently did this and he prompted me toward two of the most unlikely candidates. Both were people I would have never put on my “A” list. Actually, they wouldn’t have been on my “B-C-or D” list. I realized this was becoming an act of obedience on my part, not simply a recreational activity.
The candidates were a young homosexual couple who were 10 doors down from me. I had not been able to make a connection with them, they were rather illusive. So, I decided to place myself in a position to walk past them as they walked their dog. I was pleasantly surprised when they warmly opened up and we launched a relationship. Since that time, we have had multiple chances to connect, and the relationship is developing rather nicely.
I realized that this really is community 101. The Father was prompting me to consider a deeper question. What would it look like for me to lead my micro-church to live at a truly transformed level? Then it hit me, I am living and leading at a poverty mindset? How many times have expectations of my micro-church been so low I expect little from them. I admit that often I don’t really believe that they would radically care for those around them. They are like so many who have believed that the Christian life is a natural turn inward.
Yet so many of my neighbors are living far from family and other previously established natural support systems. These systems are largely out of reach. The substitute is impersonal institutional surrogates such as government, social agencies, and occasionally a local mega church.\
The Adventure of overcoming boring Christianity
Another part of the poverty mindset that I refer to is the assumption that the problems are too big to solve and one person or a small group of Jesus followers can’t make much of a difference. Paul reminds is to avoid this way of thinking, “let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor” (1 Corinthians 10:24), and further, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4).
I watched my brother make a difference in his community. He took the time and energy to help Pete. Who was a new Jesus follower who was struggling to find a place for his family to live. They were new in town, and new to the Jesus movement. He talked to his community of Jesus followers who were willing to help this new follower and they began to pray about how they could help him.
They decided to sell him their house and they would relocate. Next, they decided how much they would need from the sale of the house and they offered it to him at nearly 35% below market value. They helped him put together his financing and they made it possible for this brother in Jesus to have a home where he could raise his family. This helped them become the solution for this family. But we get off-kilter when we live with the mentality that the first and best answer always comes from the professional realm.
Boring Christians aren’t living life on the edge
The subtitle of John McKnight and Peter Block’s seminal book The Abundant Community is Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods. The operating idea is that our Jesus communities—our neighborhoods—possess abundant resources and potential for problem solving and the meeting of needs. But rather than picking up the mantle of neighborliness, we have surrendered to the impersonal life systems that rob us of the chance to be a radical community of transformation. We pay professionals to deal with our problems and troubles—even a lot of normal life stuff. It doesn’t occur to us to do anything else.
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