The literalists amongst us will joke – of course, I stare at it every Sunday. At your next worship service, though, look around. Ask the question – are people growing here? Are there believers in your church who are going to be stronger disciples tomorrow than they are today? Is there the expectation attenders will be changed?
For many of our churches I fear the answer is no. Churches can be a little like our neighborhoods in that they encourage a norm. In a neighborhood, houses tend to fit a certain style. In the suburbs, no house stands out too far above a norm and no house falls too far below a norm – there is a tendency to pull toward a center. Churches can be the same. There is an average form of discipleship that is expected and members do not fall too far below or rise too far above that mean.
Does your church have that ceiling? Are you hitting it in your own walk with Jesus?
This question is in my head because of conversations with other Christians. Some newer friends of mine were talking about their faith and what was common was a sense of calling – there has to be something more – I worship, lead a small group, give financially, but this cannot be all there is. Within these Christian leaders was a longing, and in spite of them following the discipleship pathway of their church there was still a yearning for more.
Jesus knew this problem. With the twelve disciples there was this same temptation to repeat and do what everybody else did. When Jesus asks his own team in Matthew 16 – Who do people say that I am? – and then follows it with – Who do you say that I am? – eleven of the disciples are all too ready to repeat what they have heard others say and only Peter comes through with the extraordinary answer.
As a Christian, when I read Peter’s story I want that breakthrough moment. I want to know Jesus better, be a builder of His Kingdom, and grow in the gifts Jesus sends my way. It may not be easy, but progress is to be had. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist renewal movement, put it this way in a 1760 letter – “Every one, though born of God in an instant, yea and sanctified in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows…” – Letter, 27 June 1760.
We grow. In time, and with God’s help, ceilings crack and fall.
Pushing a little further, I wonder what your thoughts are?
Are you bumping up against a ceiling?
Do you feel there is something more but may have no idea what it is?
Is your church helping you answer your call?
What can we do?
(thanks for sharing, if you found Jesus in this please comment and share)