If you look in the Gospels, what you’ll discover is that those who encountered Jesus were constantly left in wild amazement. They were awestruck by the teachings of Christ, the healings of Christ, the mind-bending miracles of Christ. Within the Gospel of Luke we see words like “awe” and “wonder” and “marvel” at almost every turn.
This is not just meant to be the response of those who encountered Jesus thousands of years ago but those who encounter Him today.
Yet all too often, as leaders, we lose sight of the wonder of God.
The obstacles to experiencing the dazzling splendor of being a follower of Christ vary widely. Here are just a few:
1. Our hearts grow hard as we are overexposed to human frailty. On many days, working in ministry feels like going behind the scenes at Disney World. We get to see Donald Duck out of his suit, which let’s be honest: it’s not a pretty site. We see Space Mountain with all the lights on and discover a big warehouse with a tiny roller coaster. The exposure to weakness and incompetency, including our own, can become hindrances to living wonderstruck.
2. We become caught up in the details. The awareness of the systems and processes necessary for a ministry or church to function can also become a barrier to nurturing a sense of wonder. For those new to ministry, details we never concerned ourselves with—the quantity of communion wafers and traffic flow between services—require more thought, time, and energy than we planned on giving to such seemingly trivial matters (which prove to be wildly important). If left unchecked, we can begin to focus on the structure and framework of what we do more than the Invisible One who holds all things together.
3. We become connoisseurs within the church world. The more we learn, study, and discover, the more selective we naturally become. This is a strength as we grow in our gifting, but becomes a hindrance when we become more wedded to our preferences and ideas than Christ. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus arrested people’s hearts and left them awestruck by doing the unexpected. He revealed the Kingdom of God in the startling imagery and surprising places. He consistently challenged their biases, preconceived notions, and preferences. God’s desire for our lives is not that we’d become connoisseurs but conformed to the image of His Son. And when we pursue this, we can’t help but marvel at the work God is doing in and through us.
Our focus on the functionality combined with the increased sense of familiarity of working in a ministry week in and week out can numb us to the wondrous work to which we’ve been called—creating passionate disciples of Jesus Christ.
As leaders, the wonder can so easily slip away.