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  • The Idea of People

    5 posts, 5 voices, 390 views, started Feb 21, 2011

    Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 by Denise Richardson

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    • Diamond
      Offline
      Ambassador

      There is a strange sort of phenomenon that occurs the longer someone works within the context of Church Leadership. It's almost as inevitable as Sunday coming every week .

      The phenomenon goes something like this – The more you do a great job of leading people, the more people are attracted to you and your church. The more that people are attracted and get connected to your church, the more it grows. The more the number of people at your church grows...the further you get from them.

      The very thing that was essential to your growth – Ministering to people – is now a system, a strategy, an abstraction...an idea.

      "This is inevitable," you tell yourself. I simply can't be with all these people, all the time. There's only one of me and more and more of them, something has to give.  

      So, overtime, we replace actual people with the Idea of people. We subconsciously convince ourselves that all these meetings are ultimately about "those" people. All these emails are to real people out there...somewhere.  

      Our sermons that we write in an office or Starbucks, in isolation, are for them too. Our Evangelistic efforts and strategies are for "all those lost people out there." We see them at church...for a moment...from a distance. They are there. But they are more of an idea than a reality.

      And if we're being brutally honest, we kind of like it this way. Our Idea of People is much easier to lead and manage and care about than all those Actual People. Actual people are at times unpredictable, uninterested, inconsistent, moody, needy, demanding, hurting, and basically messy.

      The more we get involved with them, the harder it gets. Better to just hunker down in our offices. Better to busy ourselves with meetings, emails, podcasts, Twitter. Better to make 100 hoops for those actual people to jump through to get any amount of time with you. It's much easier this way.

      It just so happens, though, that it is the furthest thing from the way of Jesus.

      For Jesus, people were not an idea. The World that God so loves is filled with Real People with real lives, real struggles, real needs, real stories of rebellion and redemption. These are the people that surrounded Jesus. From his days of small town obscurity to his intensely demanding days of public ministry.

      He actually Invited them in. The sick, the poor, the despised, the self righteous, men and women, children, you name it. Some were invited, others invaded. All were welcome. While it's true that there were many whom Jesus did not surround himself with, there were always 3, 12, 50.

      There were always people. Real people at his birth, through his life, at the cross, at his ascension. He was rooted in God's love, grounded in relationship with everyday people.

      I'm not sure what it looks like for you to intentionally surround yourself in relationship and proximity with Real People. I know that your job is demanding. I know that your time is limited. But the stakes are too high for you to be elusive.

      Your inaccessibility is no longer acceptable. You will serve much more humbly, you will preach much more accurately, you will lead much more effectively when you allow yourself to be invaded by real people.

      How can you volunteer somewhere in your own church?
      How can you lead a small group for people young in their faith?
      How can you stick around after church and help tear down?

      How can you intentionally create time and space this week to know and love and lead and serve the Real People that a Real God has called you to...really?

      Scripture Of The Day: "Let all that you do be done in love." - 1 Corinthians 16:14 (ESV)



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