John Meunier ~ The Big Ask

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My son and I were talking about church and politics the other day. He works in politics. I am a pastor. He was talking about the way he recruits people to work on campaigns and take leadership in the organization. It comes down to explaining the plan the campaign has for winning the race and asking the person to do some specific thing. Once you’ve sold them on the soundness of your plan, you don’t make an open-ended request for help, you get concrete. Can you give me $500? Can you volunteer 2 hours on Thursday? Will you commit to recruit five other volunteers to help out next week?

I told him that was very helpful as I think about the challenges of recruiting help in the church and evangelism. Can we articulate “our plan” and do we ask people to do specific things? Are we concrete enough when we make “the ask”?

And then my son followed up with his concerns.

In the church, he said, there are two problems. First, in a political campaign you have a target date. The election is coming and you have to get more than 50% of the votes by that date. It makes it easy to focus attention. Second, in politics, he said, you always know that there are going to be a lot of people who disagree with your or don’t like you.

In the church, we often are so soft about what we are doing that we can’t speak to people about concrete objectives and goals. We can’t even tell whether we are doing well because we don’t know what doing well looks like. And, my son observed, we often seem more concerned about everyone liking us than speaking what we believe.

As we chatted, I found myself thinking about John Wesley who used to preach while people threw rocks at him because he considered preaching the gospel so important that it was worth the risk.

I know many of my brothers and sisters are engaged in bold evangelism and discipleship. May more of us remember that great gift it is to value what we are doing more than we value the good opinion of other people.

 

 

 

Used with permission – Next Step Evangelism

1 COMMENT

  1. In June, a retiring UMC pastor gave his final sermon at the UM church I attend. Overall, I was stunned that it was a recitation of all the negative things about his ministry. But the phrase that really caught my attention was this: “Do you know how hard it is to be tactful when telling people to clean up their act or go to hell?” Now I am not in agreement that Christianity is about “cleaning up your act or go to hell”. But the fact that he felt the need to be tactful with his understanding of what Christianity is about points to the biggest problem currently besetting the church–tactful pastors who are not up front about who God is and who we are. I know because I am a lifelong Methodist who finally had to distance myself from all things church to learn about a triune God of holy love who is definitely way more verb than noun; an unfathomable God of mystery who loves me more than I can ever think about loving myself; all he requires of me is to let Him transform me into the person He created me to be. And me, I am a rebellious sinner and control freak. And yes, pastors would most definitely get “rocks” thrown at them for stating that last part. But Wesley also talked about how he was never injured in any significant way from rocks or being man-handled by a mob.

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