Yesterday, Jake and I were talking a little bit about what it is like to be a minister. We at first were talking about what we are called to do as christians, but it eventually developed into, "could i have a greater effect on people if i wasn't in vocational ministry?" This is something that he said he has struggled with, and as i see how ministry works, i can see myself wondering the same thing.
Would i be more effective to the gospel if i was an artist that worked in the secular world? Would people listen to me more about everything i had to say if i was a columnist, not a christian columnist? By that i don't mean i'm not a christian, but if i just wrote about the things that were in the world as opposed to only christian ideals.
take for example coldplay. They are one of the biggest bands on the face of the planet right now, having millions of fans and huge venues that they play at. Imagine if Chris Martin were a christian. What if through his music he promoted christian ideals? What if they way he lived his life showed that he followed God? He would be able to communicate what a true christian life looks like to MILLIONS of people! He would be able to have a positive effect on people's lives that won't ever step into a church. If he said that he was only going to write christian music for the rest of his career, he would lose a marvelous soapbox that he currently stands on.
Now, taking it back to my life, what should i do? How many real non-christian friends do i have? How many people do i hang out with that don't know christ? How much interaction with the rest of the world do i have apart from christian society? Looking at it from this point of view, i'm failing pretty liberally at being a christian that is actively applying the Gospel. How much outreach do i do?
On the flip side of this though, there has to be minsters. If there was no church, then christians would be completely left to fend for themselves, which isn't what God intended for us. The church (and the people that run the church) are an important part of the christian faith here on earth. God has chosen the church as the vessel for His message of grace to be communicated to the rest of the world.
Last night i was talking with my Mom about this topic and we came to the conclusion that the church should be like the doctors and coaches that stand on the sideline of a football or basketball game. The believers in the church (the football or basketball players) are out on the field (the rest of the world) playing against the other team (Non-believers). When one of the believers gets hurt or is tired or doesn't know what to do, they can come to the sideline and receive attention from the church. They get bandaged up, encouraged, disciplined, or taught something in order for them to get back on the field and keep playing. The goal of the player isn't to defeat the other team, but to get them to join the right team. The church can empower believers, but it can't do there job.
This doesn't mean that people that work in a church don't have to be active players as well. Everyone, either on the sideline or on the field, is on the same (winning!) team, therefore they are all working toward the same goal. Becoming a christian and going to church isn't the goal, but working to bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth is. We are working toward holistic redemption and restoration of the earth, not converting to a religion. That might be the means that it is carried out, but is definitely not the end.
Last night at the mexico mission trip team meeting, i found out that one of the people on my team has the same name and birthday as an international fugitive. Hah! Crossing the border into mexico might be interesting! :-)
Also, last night i finished the book that was currently reading, The Sword of Shanarra. I'm now looking for something new to read, so if anyone has any suggestions, i will gladly accept them!
until next time!
ps- i'm glad the Celtics lost on Sunday. It means they'll win at home.