This originally appeared as a weekly devo on whillschurch.org
After my message a couple of weeks ago on ‘inflitrate’ I had a couple of people confront me. Here is the backstory. I said Jesus’ model on earth was to infiltrate and change. Salt. Light. Incarnation. All about dealing with people up close and personal and working life change into them by grace and truth. We as the church are called, gifted, and expected to function the same way. Infiltrate where God has put you.
Then I said – I’ve got a couple of meetings to go to over the next few weeks that I’m dreading. I’m going to sit in the back with my arms folded because I’m tired of hearing about big solutions to big problems that will never work because the only real hope of the world is Jesus.
Those two dear friends asked me the same thing: “Grant, did you listen to the rest of your own sermon? Did you ever think the reason you are at these meetings is to infiltrate?”
I pondered on those words as I attended the KNCSB Annual Meeting. For those of you who don’t know, Western Hills is a part of a larger community of churches called the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists (KNCSB). What does that mean? It means that while we are ‘autonomous’ as a local church, we choose to participate with other churches for the purpose of missions and other ministry opportunities. Together we can do more than apart. Autonomous means that we hire who we want to, partner with our community the way we want to, decide what ministries we want to invest in, and personalize how we want to accomplish making disciples in our context. Being in the convention connects us with other churches who share the same theological base as we do for the purpose of sharing the load in missions and other ministries – In-Depth, Super Summer, women’s ministry retreat, disaster relief, and other opportunities as well.
I’m new to this convention stuff…this was only my 2nd Convention meeting. But there were two things that I heard that practically stopped me in my tracks.
Only 2% of Christ-followers have verbally shared their faith.
Christ Followers are saying having an ‘outward’ focused church that deeply teaches the scriptures is vital to their own spiritual walk.
The first one stopped me in a bad way. I just don’t want to believe that 98% of Christians are quiet about what is supposedly the most important aspect of their life. I don’t want to believe that but what if it is true? Then I wonder why are they quiet? Do they not know how to share their faith? Are they scared to? Are we as churches becoming the “Gospel Station” for people – drive by with your friends, we will fill them up with the Jesus story?
The second statement stopped me because I didn’t realize it needed to be said. But it does. It goes back to what we’ve been talking about the last 3 weeks – institution vs. infiltration. An organization left to itself without a vision to drive it forward will become an institution. And institutions are inward, self-preserving entities.
This Sunday, I’m going to unpack from Scripture, God’s plan for keeping the church on an infiltrate path, not an institution path. But I’m happy to report that we have leaders in our Convention that are committed to this same idea – infiltrate.
Not institute…but infiltrate. More to come.