by Justin Gravitt
Did you ever win freeze tag?
I didn’t. In fact, I don’t know anyone who ever did. A definitive freeze tag victory remains a dream for most of us.
It’s easy to imagine though. You’re IT. You run so fast and nimbly that life-sized ice statues pile up all around you. Finally, you spin around again and again and realize no one else can move.
But what if you could never be IT? What if someone else was always IT? What if you were always a player in someone else’s game?
IT would tell you to be grateful. IT would remind you of your importance; that the game couldn’t happen without you. And, on one level, you’d know IT is right, but there’d still be a part of you that would feel stuck. That yearned for more.
Freeze tag players are forced into one of two realities: 1. Furious exertion 2. Frozen stagnation. It’s not just freeze-tag players. These two realities are the experience of church members as well. Perhaps you’re living it now, bouncing from exertion to stagnation and back again.
Many churches actually encourage furious exertion. Attendance is expected at church each Sunday, life group on Wednesdays, and additional serving sprinkled in throughout the week. Such exertion is not only draining, it’s frustrating.
The frustration builds as responsibilities mount. The pressure to keep up doesn’t just come from the church. Whether you’re trying to advance your career, fix your marriage, or care for your family; our exertion leads to exhaustion—physical and spiritual.
And so, most simply decide that they can’t keep up. And. Just. Stop. For some this pivot to frozen stagnation is a small step back from their normal pace, but for others it’s a big step away from the church, and even from God.
Just like freeze tag though, stagnation can be thawed by just a touch. Perhaps a friend invites you to serve together or suffering enters your life or the pastor delivers a sermon that hits just right. Each touch of the Spirit pulls you back into the game to run once again.
It’s what you know.
Get going. Get tired. Get going again. Get tired again.
Wonder if you can keep going. Wonder if there should somehow be more.
Get frozen. Stagnate. Get rescued by a touch. Repeat.
And so it goes. Again and again.
Unfortunately, most believe they can never be IT. They were told being IT was only for the ones who had a special calling. They got the message loud and clear; some get to be IT and some don’t. So they dream. They dream of what it would be like to be IT; to be known, to leave a wake of impact.
Meanwhile the church conditions them to be a loyal parishioners, to be passive responders. So, instead of living into a calling that’s already theirs, they wait for human permission to touch others. The entirety of their vision is based on being a bit player in the pastor’s game. Sound familiar?
For these players, disciple making is moving from loyal parishioner to royal priest and helping others to do the same. Royal priests understand their role. They chase after those who are weary and burdened. They deliver a transformative touch. Their role in the Kingdom is so much greater than running, avoiding, freezing, and thawing; they bring the touch of Jesus. They are IT.
What about you?
Are you living the life of a loyal parishioner or a royal priest? Consider the following:
Royal priests find rest in God and the role He’s given them, but loyal parishioners bounce between exertion and stagnation.
Royal priests consistently seek to touch the weary and burdened, but loyal parishioners wait for others to touch them.
Royal priests embrace their call to be IT, but loyal parishioners prefer to sit and wait for the permission to minister.
So, what’s stopping you? God asks YOU to be IT on His behalf. You have been called as a royal priest, to win by helping others enter and embrace their role in the Kingdom. It’s time to step into the fullness of God’s plan for you. It’s time to stop running from and to start running toward. It’s time for you to GO. It’s time for you to be IT
This post by Justin Gravitt first appeared here. Used with permission