Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
GOT A MINUTE?
After years of theology as a student and professor, founding and pastoring a mega-Church, and authoring several bestselling books, I found myself on top of the Christian world. It was quite a ride while it lasted! What I was really doing was working for God in an advisory capacity, not understanding that this position was not open.
While on this ride, I learned the art of add-ons. I learned how to substitute Christianity, Church, and charisma for Jesus. I learned how to leave him out of most of my conversations and out of most of my life. My life was filled with Christianity. Studying it. Teaching it. Defending it. Spreading it.
After Jesus apprehended my life in such a powerful way several years ago, I began to see clearly how I had been missing the point that Jesus is the point. I came to the conclusion that “Christianity isn’t the way; Jesus is!”
Now, I am learning to pay special attention to the teachings of Jesus on all matters and to consult the experience of the early followers of Jesus. This has proven to be a great awakening for me! It’s mind-boggling how many things I have believed and taught from my personal upbringing and education that I have come to realize are just not quite the way I thought.
Since we’ve been missing the point of the most basic teachings of Jesus, the communities of Jesus-the Churches-aren’t growing as they did at first. No matter how many ‘Church-growth’ books, seminars, and workshops are produced by the ‘celebrated’ Church leaders here in the USA, the net increase of believers has been non-existent for decades and overall Church attendance is dropping dramatically. Presently, 10 Churches shut down every day in the USA.
Jesus has not only left the building; Jesus never did hang out in any building. In the beginning, Jesus did most of his work outside any Temple or Synagogue. If you were looking for Jesus in the 1stCentury, you wouldn’t have found him in any building. Jesus’ sanctuary is to be found in the hearts of his followers. He’s hanging out there today, too! We must refocus ourselves on how to find him. That’s how the Jesus movement can grow!