There’s Nothing Challenging About This Challenge!
I apologize for the length of this post up front…I just issued a pretty extreme challenge to my local Christ following community that is not too challenging at all. I’ll summarize it here and list details below. It’s a 90 day challenge that has three components. Each component is actually tied to our core values. If you are willing to take up the challenge, start between now and October 1st and see the difference it makes in your life, your Christ following community, and your local community:
Over the next 90 days…
1) Passionately engage in daily reading and prayer
2) Actively engage in ministry within your Christ following community
3) Sacrificially engage in your local community
Sounds easy enough and although it is rather simple and not quite challenging, it actually is quite challenging. Let me explain the details and you decide for yourself.
Passionately engage in daily reading and prayer – Although many people claim to follow God not too many of us actually engage in relationship with Him on a daily basis. We all read books about God or that reflect what others say or think about the Bible but we very rarely consistently read His word or spend time passionately engaged in prayer. In my own life in any given week there may be 3 to 5 days where I spend deliberate time in reading God’s word and in deliberate prayer. The other days I will engage in one or the other. But reading God’s word gives us a better understanding of Who He is, His purpose for us, and better equips us to share His word with others. Spending daily time in prayer with Him also allows God to begin or continue shaping and molding us into the image of His Son. Both obviously important, but in our fast paced busy culture not “daily doable” important. Time to change that. So over the next 90 days begin reading the Bible, not a devotional book, but the actual Bible, every single day. Start in Old Testament or New Testament, read a few verses, a few chapters, one chapter, or follow a reading plan but start reading…daily. Also spend time in prayer. Pray about what you read, write down questions and ask God to reveal specifics about what you read or about His will for you. Have passionate conversations with God as you would with anyone else who you love and Who loves you.
Actively engage in ministry within your Christ following community – Many people bash or love the local church or come to it for help or hate it for not helping enough. However many fail to realize what it takes to make the local church (local Christ following community) able to BE the Church (Body of Christ)…it takes you. The Church is made up of people who when filled with God’s Holy Spirit and come together are able to share and show the love of Christ, spread the Gospel, and meet the needs of people within their community. However, in many local Christ following communities, an average of about 50% or less of those who make up the Christ following community are involved in its local ministries. What would it look like in every small, medium sized or mega Christ following community to have 75, 80, 90, or even 100% of the people involved in the ministries there. There are lots of reasons why people don’t get involved; but put all of that aside and over the next 90 days, as you are reading God’s word and spending time in passionate prayer with Him ask Him to show you where you can help out (if He has not done so already). If you’re already involved in a ministry, over the next 90 days make it your mission to ask others to join the ministry you support and work alongside you in serving God.
Sacrificially engage in your local community – Some people may find this portion more challenging than the previous ones. It’s one thing to volunteer within your local Christ following community, but totally another thing to support your local community? This is where you live, shop, possibly work or go to school. But it is also where there may be people who dislike you, your family, or your Christ following community; yet you are all doing life together. Your local community deserves and needs your support just as much as the local Christ following community. The sacrifice of your time, energy and resources may make a huge difference in someone’s life and although they may never know your relation to Christ and may never set foot in your Christ following community, and may never know it was you who helped, you will be doing what Jesus Christ did. You’ll be serving others for no other reason than because it pleases your Father in Heaven.
I encourage you to take up this challenge, get others you know involved and watch as your life, that of your Christ following community, and that of the community where you live is transformed. Share reflections, thoughts, and positive results with each other, encourage each other and you will see an extreme difference before the 90 days are over.