- YOUR PEOPLE WON’T TELL YOU THEY DON’T BELIEVE THE SAME THINGS AS YOU
The preacher effect keeps them silent about doubts. “What? Tell the pastor I’m not sure hell exists?” When it freezes over. Maybe.
Numbers don’t lie. The statistics about what professing Christians in America believe (or don’t) are probably not far off from what the people in your church believe.
Christian religious practices in the U.S. have created a false sense of security. We baptize infants, confirm teenagers and assimilate the rest into the church without truly knowing what they believe.
But you want people to have a relationship with God, not just religious practices.
Jesus taught belong, believe, behave. Through his relationships with Matthew, Zacchaeus and others, Jesus showed how love, acceptance and inclusion led to belief.
You already have a head start with the people in your church who don’t really believe. They belong. So now work on helping them discover more about Jesus, forgiveness, grace, peace and intentional disciple-making.
- YOUR PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES, THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR FRIENDS
If you get close enough for them to open up, they’ll tell you, “I have my faith, I have eternal life, I have my church, I have my small group, I have my Bible.” How many “I’s” is that? Not exactly others-focused.
When you start talking about loving and serving people, especially people outside the church, you’ll find resistance. It’s a fact of life.
Ask most Christians what they want to hear when they meet Jesus, they’ll instinctively say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” A friend changed my paradigm on this; she wants to hear, “Your heart broke for what my Mine breaks for.”
That what is really a who. Do the hearts of your people break for anyone outside their circle? How will you lead them to a place of broken-heartedness for others?
First, you have to answer the question yourself. Who does your heart break for? Hopefully, there’s a connection between the burdens you carry and things your church is doing.
- YOUR PEOPLE ARE ONLY WORRIED ABOUT YOUR PREACHING
Your church will tell you they’re satisfied with you so long as you preach good sermons. It’s you that needs more, whether you want more or not.
Many pastors have lost touch with the regular people at their church. Standing by the door, shaking hands after the service isn’t real. In the early days, you spent time with people one-on-one.
Church today echoes the zone defense we see in sports. Everyone on the team has an assigned area. You go to your area and do your job.
Playing zone gets comfortable pretty quick. But if you’re honest, playing zone gets boring pretty quick.
When you’re in a man-to-man situation, your faith has to be real. It’s not going to be displayed by dramatic intonation or cool alliteration. It’s going to come through your eyes, your voice, your tears. These encounters bring you and your faith to life. Suddenly, you have real stories for your sermons. People see life in you they haven’t seen in a while.