Taking your first step backward…
I get it. Something in you says yes, but something around you says no- loudly. You want to think of yourself as a person on mission with Jesus, but if you evaluate what He did and what you do, there is an apparent lack of commonality. So, take a look at the Apostles. Anything there the same? The first step in recovery is what? Admitting the problem. Let’s face this thing head on and call it like it is. Practically none of us who have grown up in the North American church have been trained or equipped to make disciples that make disciples, but we continue to excuse ourselves from the responsibility by masking it with a lot of activity that talks about Jesus, and seems to get good enough results.
When I first started pastoring, I was asked to be the main speaker at a youth camp. It was a fantastic experience. Each night as I preached, I was aiming down the barrel, scoping an altar call and preparing to pull the trigger. Sure enough, each night, the front was packed. By the third night, I was beginning to get over myself and sense that the Holy Spirit was not necessarily the active presence drawing people to the Father and that something was off, wrong, amiss. It was as if I could say, “Jesus loves peanut butter and pickles, and He is asking all who are willing to proclaim their love for peanut butter and pickles to come down here and experience an emotional breakdown time together”, and they would practically leap out of their seats to do it…The pats on the back from my denominational leaders and camp directors and parent sponsors felt good at first, and then slimy. They said it was the best camp they’d had in 20 years or some such, but I knew I had missed something. I did everything the way I was trained to in my religious upbringing. It all looked cool in the video. However, the Father was telling me that the Spirit was grieved, and I had no clue why.
The day after camp was over, I committed to the Lord to spend the next year seeking to discover what it was that was off. I would invest myself into researching Jesus. Have you ever done that?
I got the call. They not only wanted me to be the camp pastor, but also the camp director. God was giving me the opportunity to take what I was learning in my pursuit of Him and apply it to the direction, planning, theme, speaking, worship and activities of the whole thing.
When the next camp year came around, after a year of seeking, the answer was so clear and so simple. It was as if the Father said to me, “I said make disciples.” It was a game changer, for everything.