Dave Peters told me about a friend of his who leads a rather large Bible Study who often asks, "How many here are saved?" Most hands go up and stay up till he asks the second question, "What are you doing with it?" George Barna confirms this lack of out reach by followers of Jesus in a list he calls "10 Stops on the Journey of Transformation". Taking a person from no relationship with Jesus to Spiritual Transformation his first five stops on this journey are
1. Ignorance of sin: Non-believing people don't even realize that sin exists in their lives.
2. Indifference to sin: Non-believing people grow to understand the concept of sin but are indifferent to it. They don't know they should be concerned about it and do something about it.
3. Concern for sin: Non-believing people become concerned that sin exists in their lives. They begin to search for the answer to the question, "What should I do about this sin?"
4. Understand a Need for Forgiveness: Their concern for sin becomes a need to be forgiven by Someone capable of forgiving sin. They find Jesus to be the only One capable of this forgiveness.
5. Embrace Grace & A Need to Grow in Faith: This is the point of salvation. They recieve grace and begin to grow as a follower of Jesus Christ.
An interesting statistical note to his study is that 89% of all Christians in the USA never get beyond stop 5. They never grow or develop beyond the point of salvation.
Certainly we need to take into account the people who come to LHCC just beginning their journey and that is our focus at this time. However, we are not going to be able to guide them if we, the followers, do not move through the next five stops.
1. Spiritual Discontent: After salvation and an understanding of God's grace, the nice, comfortable, safe Christianity that is typically taught no longer satisfies. They long for more and are discontent with a faith that doesn't challenge and change them or other people.
2. Brokenness: They begin to realize that they cannot change the world on their own. They need God, His power and the rest of His people to do it and are broken by their limitations and inadequacies.
3. Surrender & Submission: As their brokenness takes it's toll on them they throw their hands in the air and cry out "I surrender"! In the Church of God, this is the point which we used to call being "sanctified". Surrendering all of who we are, our will, our desires, our lives to God and His purposes.
4. Profound Love for God: Having surrendered and submitted to God's will, love and grace, a deep, intimate and profound love for Him develops.
5. Profound Love for Other People: It is only after understanding and receiving God's amazing grace and love that we can extend that love to others! This is God's mission in the world! For all people to know, receive and share the love of God through Jesus Christ!
Everyone in the body has to fulfill their gifting for us to be successful. As we consider how to become a church the unchurched want to attend let us also consider how we become a church where the churched want to contribute to bringing those not yet following Jesus to meet Him.