What Kind of Ministry Are You Building?

Last night, I had the privilege of listening to Francis Chan speak at Conclave.   I am still trying to process the ramifications of what he said on my life and ministry so I wanted to pass some thoughts along to you about it.

Francis was emphasizing the need to build our ministries around discipleship instead of events or programs.  He did not come across as completely against events and programs unless these contain no scripture.  The Word is central to people encountering God and having an all-consuming love for Jesus Christ.  Without the Word in our ministries, we are wasting our time.

Francis went on to talk about his desire to here Jesus say, “Well done.”  He went back to a statement that I have heard him say before but had never really sunk in.  Francis said that he does not want to come before Jesus and present to Him the church that God has given him to lead and have to say, “Jesus here is a group of people who kind of like you.”  This is so often what the American church mentality creates.  People who attend church not to follow Jesus, not to study the Word, but rather to be entertained.  It is so easy to fall into the mindset of liking Jesus when our lives are going well, but this like for Jesus tends to be a Sunday morning like when we are in church instead of a love for Jesus that leads to our radical obedience to His call.

The message went on to address the fact that Jesus calls us to give up everything and take up our crosses and follow Him.  This is a radical obedience that leaves no room for us to merely like Jesus but that comes from a radical love for the Savior.  Our ministries need to not shy away from the radical nature of following our King.

Francis then used the passage about salt losing its saltiness and becoming worthless.  He said that tasteless salt ruins everything even a pile of manure would be ruined by tasteless salt.  It has no use to anyone and should be thrown out.  Francis then took out some salt and poured it into a pile.  This was the “good salt” which had not lost its saltiness.  He then picked up a container of “bad salt” that had lost its saltiness and poured it on top of the “good salt” with flavor.  He went on to pose the question: “Why would anyone want to do this?”  The pile got larger and larger then Francis explained that this is what we do as the American church.  We are so focused on getting a big pile of people in our ministries that we are willing to have a large ministry filled with people who kind of like Jesus rather than calling people to a radical discipleship fueled by a passionate love for our Savior which may cause us to have a smaller pile.

Our focus so often in ministry is so far off of what Jesus calls us to.  We need to repent of our Christ-less ministry priorities and seek to not only become radical disciples of Jesus but to empower the people to which we minister to become radical disciples also.

Last night’s session ended with Todd Agnew playing “My Jesus.”  The following are the lyrics for your reflection:

Which Jesus do you follow?
Which Jesus do you serve?
If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
Then why do you look so much like the world?

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
So which one do you want to be?

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand

Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
So which one do you want to be?

Who is this that you follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side or fall down and worship at His holy feet

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part
Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
So which one do you want to be?

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet would stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despised the proud
I think He’d prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd
And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud

I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!

Not a posterchild for American prosperity, but like my Jesus
You see I’m tired of living for success and popularity
I want to be like my Jesus but I’m not sure what that means to be like You Jesus
Cause You said to live like You, love like You but then You died for me
Can I be like You Jesus?
I want to be like my Jesus