Thursday, June 07, 2007

Every Member a ...

This Sunday we will be talking about expectations at church and it has me thinking about what I expect out of the people of our church. As part of a church planting school that I attended a few years back, I learned that I often have overly optimistic expectations of other people. I am still not happy being told this, because for me, they should all just step up.

However, there are some times that I can see where I have put too much stock in the abilities of some who ended up hurting the church as they were unable to accomplish the task. I remember one time having a teenage boy sing a solo on a Wednesday night youth meeting and feeling sooooooo bad for him as he took a great song and destroyed it. The bad thing was that he knew he was killing it and it was killing him. Where I thought he had room to grow, and that I could develop him in the area of music, actually turned around to embarrass him and teach me a lesson in the process.

So what is too high of an expectation or a misplaced expectation? What should we as pastors expect from God's people the church? I will say without a doubt that our expectations should line up with the pattern laid out in the Bible. Therefore, as a leader, and recognizing that people are all at different stages of growth, the end goal is still Christ likeness. My expectations of the people of my church is that they are becoming more like Christ every day. It is not too much to expect a level of devotion to God that is better than before.

A few years ago the phrase "every member a minister" began floating around church world. We realized that there is no room in the church for people who just want to leach ministry from the body like a cancer, but that every member should be involved in giving back to the ministry. This is a great step for most churches as the age old statistic says that 20% of the people do 80% of the ministry. If we could flip those numbers imagine the amount of service we could do!

However, our expectations cannot end there. Remember that Christ likeness is our goal, and that takes more than ministry. We must now go beyond "every member a minister" to the new step of "every member a missionary." Missions is ministry but with two distinctives.

First, mission is simply ministry that takes place outside of the church. Where ministry watches babies in the nursery, mission watches the baby next door. Where ministry is a friendly greeting and cup of coffee to a guest at church, mission is a friendly greeting and cup of coffee to the homeless. It moves from self serving to serving others.

The second distinctive is that mission is ministry with purpose. We become missionaries when our babysitting is done to share Christ with our neighbor; when our coffee and greeting leads to a conversation about God's love. If we do ministry without this purpose then we have failed to do mission.

2 Cor. 4:5 - 6 (NKJV)
For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bond servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

So what do I expect? I expect that everyone who is a member of Cornerstone will be in the process of becoming more like Christ, in holy living, and in action. Namely that we will reach the goal of "every member a missionary!"