I once asked a young youth pastor for his perspective on creating effective youth ministry in a local church environment. His answer stunned me:
“I would never hire a me.”
Excuse me? What?
“As soon as a church hires a full-time youth minister, the people no longer take individual responsibility for the young people around them. It becomes my job, the institutions job, to make disciples of the kids.”
Interesting perspective. But it forced me to ask a difficult question: “have I lost my own sense of personal responsibility?”
In a culture where Starbucks serves me coffee, Apple serves up iPhones, and Walmart seems to fill in all possible remaining gaps, it’s easy (even for me…maybe especially for me) to view the church as another faceless institution that provides “spiritual consumables.” Want proof?
A few weeks ago, a guy approached me in the lobby after our weekend service to ask for some help understanding the Bible. My gut reaction? We should design a class I could send this guy to for basic Bible instruction. Only later did it hit me, I should just personally show this guy how to study Scripture.
When the 7.1 earthquake demolished Haiti, my immediate thought was “CityCom should write a check to a relief organization.” It took some time, and a little conviction, before I pulled out my own checkbook.
American culture rewards those who figure out how to make life more convenient. I love that. But what if Starbucks required you to jump behind the counter and make coffee for someone else before you could get yours? Or if Apple insisted you work the assembly line to activate your iPhone subscription? Or Walmart made you stock shelves in order to shop there? Would you do it?
That’s more like the Gospel Jesus modeled. It’s inconvenient. It costs. It serves. It takes responsibility. And that makes me uncomfortable.
The church doesn’t exist as a faceless institutional answer. You and I are here to become the church, and that requires immense personal responsibility.
What personal responsibility am I placing on “the church” to avoid owning it for myself?
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