I have been praying lately for God to give our church our neighborhood as our inheritance.
It is a prayer that is changing things, but it seems like all of the things that have changed have been in my heart.
You see in church work there are people who come to your ministry and they make life easier for their presence. They add their gifts to the gifts of the others at church in a way that seems natural. There are also people who come into your ministry who make life harder. They are still rough around the edges. Some of them have attitudes that rub people the wrong way. Others are just down right rude, mean, or otherwise problems. In short they act like what they are non-Christians.
In my life I hate to admit I have sought after the first group much more than the later. I have given lip service to wanting everyone to come, but I have actively courted the people who were easy.
This prayer I have been praying for our neighborhood has been changing my heart. I have begun to realize that I was not only tolerating the hard ones, but that I wanted them, really wanted them. To come, warts, attitudes, and all. Why? Because I believe two things 1) That God has a heart for those who everyone else seems to want to push away and 2) Because I believe those people know others who are also hurting and if we could reach just a few of them we could reach scores of people who are lost and hurting.
So over the past couple of weeks I have been trying to figure out how to have a ministry that is full of people who seem to be trying the best to disrupt everything that we normally do at church. It hasn’t been easy. I had to humble myself and admit to folks that I didn’t have all of the answers and bring in a bunch of people to help, but last week things were better than the week before.
So in conclusion this has been a month of changes for me and I like what is happening. I am going to write over the next few days over what that means and how our ministry is changing.
But before we go I want to say that as I have prayed and ask God to bring people to our church He keeps bringing in people who are not at all what I would have looked for, but who I can tell are searching for God even if they don’t know they are searching yet.
I am excited to see where this is going.