Several years ago a close Christian counselor friend of mine named Kenny suggested I read a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. I did, and it had a huge impact on my life and ministry. Since then I’ve had a couple conversations with the author Peter Scazzero who I believe is absolutely brilliant.
I just happened to be skimming Leadership Journal last night when I noticed an interview they just published with him. I found this particular question and answer very interesting. I would love to get your perspective on it. Here’s the question and Peter’s response:
What are some blind spots for the American church when it comes to transformation?
Every culture in history has blind spots, and the 21st Century North American church is no exception. We have huge blind spots. That’s why church history is so important. That’s why being part of the global church is important. It provides perspective.
I’ve had the opportunity to be part of the global church just by being in Queens. We are exposed to so many different cultures and races from around the world, it becomes easier to see the blind spots each has on the topics related to transformation.
One huge challenge for Americans is the same thing a lot of people move here for—the American dream. That desire for success, comfort, money—these are tremendous pulls. Many of our brothers and sisters in sub-Saharan Africa aren’t struggling with these temptations quite as much. They don’t have second homes. They’re not climbing the corporate ladder.
Pastors fall into a version of the American Dream all the time. I call it the idolatry of numbers. It’s this idea that your success is based on how large your church is. And it’s very subtle. Someone in your city starts a church and it explodes to 2,000 people in less than a year. And maybe God asked them to do that. But I do know you can’t build a church in two years. It takes years to build a church. It takes years for transformation. Jesus and the 12 showed us that.
I’m 25 years in, and I don’t know any transformation that’s not slow. I believe in the power of God falling on a person, absolutely. But there is the slow, painful work of discipleship. God changes me very slowly, but he changes me. And he changes our people. We grow community slowly. It’s a slow process. It’s not American. It’s not quick. This isn’t any three steps to a transformed life.