Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trying to Stop Losing Sheep

Luke 15:1-10

Every church I have been at has expressed a concern for the lost sheep of the congregation. Every congregation will have either formally or informally a list of people who have wandered completely away. As followers of Jesus, we are really interested in getting them back. God is interested in the one who has wandered away, so we should be to. So, I have heard over and over, “what are we doing to reach out to the lost sheep?” The question I have asked back is, “what are we doing to keep them from wandering away?”

I am convinced and statistics across churches nationwide back me up that an awful lot of the people who we consider lost sheep were never really here in the first place. Yeah maybe they showed up but they were never really engaged in the process of becoming a disciple or student of Jesus. They had never really begun their journey. It is the journey, according to John Wesley, that changes us. When someone doesn’t get involved in the journey, they begin to wonder why they are giving up a day of the week and some of their money to this institution they have joined. We used to talk about this just as “connections.” We thought, if we just got people connected to people or ministries that they would stick around. But connecting people to other people only really works long term works as a pathway to discipleship. Connecting people to other people or connecting other people to service opportunities only works if it ultimately connects them to Jesus. If it is connection for connections sake, it fails.

When we think about lost sheep, we at University are totally sold out to the idea that people who are on a pathway to becoming disciples are less likely to get lost. This is what The Pathway to Discipleship is all about. It is not just an educational program, it is a way of doing church that honors Christ love for everyone and special interest in those who have wandered away. If reflects that interest by helping them not to wander away in the first place and by giving them the tools to find their way back if they do get lost.


blog comments powered by Disqus