In Mid-TN, where there seems to be a church on every corner, a Bible on every bookshelf, and Jesus in every heart, it’s easy to forget that 85% (ish) of the people here don’t have a relationship with Jesus. It’s common to assume that everyone has “arrived” spiritually. It’s not unusual for people to think there are no more new steps of faith to take.
This type of thinking isn’t accurate and it isn’t harmless. I believe it represents one of the most successful lies of the Enemy, causing people to ignore the everyday opportunities God gives them to advance his kingdom. The people in our area aren’t just from our area. In fact, it’s very rare to meet people in Mid-TN from Mid-TN. Our city attracts people from all kinds of families, regions, and more. And like all of us, they’re broken, living in a broken world, looking for an eternal, satisfying life. We believe Jesus is the life they’re looking for. And we also believe that people typically find Jesus and follow Jesus through the church’s Spirit-empowered, imperfect efforts.
One of the greatest parts of being a pastor is the opportunity to hear so many life changing stories to capture both the great need for Christ that exists and the great progress that is happening. One of the worst parts of being a pastor is the challenge of communicating so many life changing stories to so many people. It’s easier to hear and celebrate them than it is to pass them on in a way that does justice to them.
With that said, I’d like to share a few stories, imperfectly, that I can’t keep to myself! All of these happened in the last week. I’ve removed sensitive details, but I want you all to know that God is at work in our midst!
“You have no idea how much of a miracle it is that they are coming!” Recently an RCC couple pulled me aside and told me, that someone they invited has been coming to RCC worship gatherings consistently for the past few months. I knew who they were talking about, but I didn’t know much about them. And the RCC couple told me with an excited seriousness, “you have no idea how much of a miracle it is that they are coming.” I had no idea. Turns out there is quite a history there. Praise God he’s allowing RCC to be the people amongst whom God is working this miracle!
Perhaps there are people around you right now in your neighborhood, at work, or some other well worn path in your life that God wants to work a miracle through your invitation?!
“For the first time, I’m asking God to show me something ‘big’ that he wants me to do.” Recently a couple was invited to a group for the first time. They went and God changed their life! They said as they listened to the group talk about following Christ, it made them realize that they hadn’t been including God in their lives in a significant way. So they started asking God to show them something “big” God wanted them to do with their lives! In the next couple of days, something “big” came along and they acted courageously and took the step out of their comfort zone. Praise God he’s using Groups to change lives!
Perhaps there are people around you right now in your neighborhood, work, or maybe at the worship gatherings, who you can invite to your group and see God change their lives?!
“Thanks for the invitation to grab some coffee. I’ve been waiting for you to ask.” A guy that had been hanging around RCC on and off for the past couple of years was recently asked to coffee by one of the people that saw him the most frequently. And the guy immediately said he’d love to and that he’d been waiting for someone to ask him! How many people is God preparing for our invitations?
Perhaps you could ask God to show you someone that you can invite to grab a cup of coffee and see God work?!
The people of Mid-TN need Jesus. And Jesus loves to use his imperfect church to advance his perfect, miraculous purposes in places like this. I’m praying that God would allow everyone of us to play a meaningful part in helping people start a relationship with Jesus and grow in their relationship with Jesus. Are you making yourself available to him and his purposes today?