Are We Raising A Family Or An Orphanage?
Temporary thinking is a limited belief system! One of the greatest limiting beliefs we have in Christianity is in how we celebrate the experience of salvation. We think it's about a quick thing I do today that will help me some day later. While most Christians would agree that there's more to Christianity than that moment of profession, the culture of the evangelical movement only celebrates the initiation and not the process.
The first thing that's out of order in this limited belief is that we're actually not called to "win souls". It was never Jesus priority or even mentioned for that matter. His priority was calling people into a disciple making relationship. He never asked if someone knew where they were going to go when they died, he never asked anyone to repeat after him a Roman's road prayer. Lets be honest... most of our "salvation experienced" theology comes out of Paul's Christology of which he was translating to Roman citizens who only knew Caesar as Lord at that time.
For most evangelicals this feels radical to say something like this... but honesty requires us to look at the heart of Jesus and also count the cost of what the gospel actually calls us into which is raising a family. I believe most evangelistic motives are nice but extremely self rewarding and short term in their priority. Evangelist blows in for event... stadium gets filled. Prayer is repeated. Stats are posted. Rinse and repeat. While God is good enough not to waste these moments, his heart is for duplication through relationship not membership through dues paid. What would it look like to celebrate the process of disciple making in this stadium experience as much as we celebrate these salvation prayer moments?
Making disciples who then make disciples is the foundation that the church was built upon. An experience that only sustains profession of "I'm a sinner" in need of a savior without a commitment to get that person to think like Jesus is an inch deep and a mile wide. It's not sustainable. This is called raising an orphanage and not raising a family. The church has been excited about making babies, but where are the fathers and mothers who will raise them?
The same can be said for the encounter priority of the Charismatic Movement. I love the moment someone professes Jesus and I also love the moment they have an encounter with God... but a real encounter with God should compel them to follow Jesus in all the wonder, mystery and process. What do you do when you have a culture that lives off of the "suddenly's" but there aren't any suddenly's happening for a specific situation? We have to embrace the paradox of what can happen immediately and what is necessary for the journey. God uses both, but are we able to have faith for the suddenly and trust the process at the same time? This takes great maturity.
The end goal is not a short term fix, it's true transformation. It's true restoration. It's wholeness of the body, soul and spirit in this life. Wholeness is not a short term journey nor is it an inch deep. We need a "making disciples that makes disciples" awakening, full of people constantly position themselves as receiving from a savior who brings encounters that transform them and renew their mind. You could easily build a case that God doesn't want your heart, he wants your mind. He doesn't want you to just think about Him, He wants you think LIKE Him. This will take time and cost you something, and it's worth it every time.