Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why Are You Here? Part One

I still remember that question after 23 years along with the context it was asked in and the person who asked it. It was 1986 on an uptown bus in Manhattan. I was a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary sent to New York on a 10 week church planting project. I had just boarded the bus and sat down in the seat with a gentleman who I found out later was Jewish.

As we sat an rode the bus, the gentleman said "Hello." In which I responded with my "Hello". He looked at me strangely and said, "Youse (You) aren't from around here?" I guess my southern accent gave me away. I explained to him that I was a Southern Baptist seminary student there in New York. Then he asked "Why are you here?"

That question has stuck with me all these years. Now the simple answer would be: To bring Glory for God." But the answer I gave that day was that I was there to start a church. The next question this man asked was "why?" My answer that I gave Him even astonished me. I didn't tell him the statistics of unchurched people in New York. I didn't tell him that he was destined to hell. I said one simple phrase: " God loves you and so do I!" I was there to start a church were people could come into a loving relationship with a loving God.

Why does these man's questions stay with me all these years. It is because they are questions that we must honestly ask ourselves especially as church planters. Why are we here in this place and why do we do what we do?

Its very easy to say that we do what we do because we love God; we want the lost to come to Christ and we want to bring God glory. However, it is so easy to forget these things and substitute our own agenda and our own plan.

Ask yourself some simple questions about where you are in ministry and life:
1. Would I be where I am at and do what I am doing even if I wasn't paid?

2. Am I serving where I am serving because this is the place where God has led me and has confirmed that through scripture, friends and the PEACE of GOD?

3. Would I do what I do even if I got no recognition for it?

4. The reason I do what I do, where I do it is because if I didn't I know that I would be out of the will of God?

5. Is my discontent because things are hard or because it is really from God and He is readying me to move?

These questions are questions I ask many guys who come to me wanting to plant churches. They are questions I ask because they are questions that I have been asked and had to answer in my own life. They are also questions that I have gotten some surprising answers from others who have told me that they feel called to church planting or ministry. Answers that show a motive or calling other than God's.

You might say by this point what am I trying to say. Here it is: Why you do what you do where you are at should be solely based on God's leading you to that place.

Why are you here? Why do you do what you do? Only you and God can answer that.

Tommorrow: Why Are You Here to plant a Church? Is it a Calling, A Dream or an Escape?

1 comment:

  1. Ah Lewis, that's a toughie. Only places led by God would enable me to work without recompense and recongition. Good questions to ask myself on a regular basis.