Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Spheres of Influence - where daily life and discipleship intersect

I just finished an article about equipping people beyond the walls of the church. I laid out a neat-and-tidy four-step process: raise awareness, state the challenge, provide accountability, and sustain momentum through celebration. My theories sounded so good, I might actually try them!

Sadly, the notion of equipping God's people often revolves around improving ministry performance within the walls of the church. We train teachers and give tips to greeters. We line up nursery workers and sign up volunteers for the next outreach event. Our sermons give practical advice (I hope) for daily living (e.g., guarding your tongue, fighting depression), but our ministry training times and team meetings tend to look inward.

As I church leader, I must realize my people spend the majority of their time beyond the walls of the church. They are parents and spouses, siblings and children, workers and citizens, coaches and consumers, neighbors and friends. And so am I. They wrestle with conflict management, lack of courage, anxiety, financial insecurity, pride, greed, people pleasing, doubt, gluttony, and a host of other soul matters. And so do I. They struggle to pursue God in their homes, prioritize God in their marriages, integrate faith into their work, and manage their time with ministering to "the least of these" in mind. And so do I (except for that faith-integration thing!).

These areas, where daily life and discipleship intersect, are called spheres of influence. They deserve more emphasis from pastoral leaders. Hence, I made a call to raise awareness.
I may spend inordinate amounts of my time tuning clocks, polishing sermons, and arranging programs within the walls the church. My congregation inhabits another world. A wider world. A world full of spheres where God intends to use them. And use me, too.

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