Teenagers long for responsibility; adults often run from it.
Think about the average 14-year-old itching to transition from the seemingly mundane tasks of childhood into the official assignments of an adult. They want to drive. Create their own schedule. Have a job. Make money and determine how it’s spent.
They’ll soon find out that these highly anticipated responsibilities aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Adulting is tough. Most of us have no shortage of adult responsibility, and if we’re honest, we’d like to step back from some of the burden that comes with it.
So, when ‘would-be disciple-makers’ are encouraged to take on new responsibilities—particularly those involving the church’s divinely commissioned mission—many seem quite understandably unenthusiastic.And what makes things much worse is that the average churchgoer respectively equates a call toward missional responsibility with a request to serve on a church committee, or an appeal to show up a few minutes early to make coffee on Sunday mornings.
Even these seemingly low-threshold responsibilities make many weak-in-the-knees as they consider how to add something new to an already jam-packed weekly routine of must dos.
With busy believers neck-deep in personal responsibility, and a similarly frantic church calendar appealing for their most valuable commodity—time—a huge question remains both unasked and unanswered: Who is taking spiritual responsibility for the spiritual harvest that sits neglected all around us?
At first glance, we might answer that the local church, corporately, bears this burden of responsibility. It’s we, collectively, who give ourselves to declare and demonstrate the gospel in our community.
But in actuality, such an assumption more often leads to the neglect of communities than in their engagement. Our ecclesiastical assumption is that, somehow, we participate in Jesus’ Mission by proxy. We give generously. We attend faithfully. We serve unquestioningly. Surely our church’s commissioned mission is being fulfilled, isn’t it?
But the answer might be found in pressing our question one step deeper. Who is taking spiritual responsibility for lostness within your neighborhood?Who is so concerned about the waiting and wasting harvest in your community that they:
- Seek to know the names and spiritual condition of those in your community.
- Pray regularly for the salvation of those apart from Jesus.
- Meet practical needs in order to demonstrate the grace and kindness of God.
- Take every opportunity to share the gospel and point to the hope found in the gospel.
- Pursue those who are new to the neighborhood and welcome them to the community with genuine and biblical hospitality.
- Seek to network estranged believers to healthy local churches where they can be cared for and with whom they can partner in a shared mission.
Who’s doing that in your community? Sadly, even in neighborhoods with many professing believers, the answer is normally, “Nobody.”
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Source: Christianity Today