Friday, December 12, 2008

Changed Lives

I spend a great deal of time interacting with other pastors and people from other churches – and I mean from every persuasion; attractional, missional, contemporary, seeker, modern, traditional, denominational, non-denominational, spirit-filled, charismatic, etc. Talking with these people for just a few minutes is all it takes to find out where their emphasis and focus rests.

Some churches just want to be cool. I wrote about this once; you can read it here. You can tell being cool is the most important thing to them because that’s all they talk about; the latest song, the new lights, the stage design, whatever. They are driven to be cool, and if some people come to Christ along the way, fine. But being cool is the driving force.

At the other extreme are churches who are so afraid of modernism and progress that they become isolationists. While most do not go back as far as the Amish have, many churches seem to think that the 1950s was the golden era, and are determined to preserve that era in their church. They will erect theological walls to defend their traditions and personal preferences.

In the same way, I can always tell which churches are truly consumed with reaching people who are far from God (evangelism) and turning them into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ (maturity). I talk with them and they are consumed with CHANGED LIVES. Yes, they may play new songs, use technology, have creative church services, and set up impressive stage designs. But these things are simply tools – not an end unto themselves – to reach lost people and get them embarked upon a spiritual journey. In these kinds of churches every decision that is made is arrived at in light of one driving force – changed lives. They are driven to see people come to Christ and grow up spiritually, and that overrides the desire to be cool or preserve the traditions of men.

At PCC our driving force is changed lives. I personally believe that nothing glorifies and honors God more than changed lives. Every time a sinner repents, angels in heaven rejoice – which brings honor to God. Every time a believer grows up and becomes more like Christ brings honor to God.

Changed lives – through conversion and/or maturity – is what the ministry is all about.

Signs of Life? Yea, we’ve got them all over the place.