September 3, 2010

Relationships instead of Results

Continuing my series on what we've learned by church planting:

As a church, we have made many attempts to meet people and share the love of Christ with them. Some of those attempts have required hours of blood, sweat, and tears and given no return. Others have had results, but the how's and why's of success aren't always clear. The lesson in it for me is this:
  • God is sovereign and will use our attempts however He sees fit. Our job are the faithful attempts; His job is the return on the work.
  • Sharing Christ with people and helping them mature in Him is all about personal relationships. Their willingness to hear is not based on my reputation, my role, or my persuasiveness. We cannot get around this principle, no matter how we try. We must have the attitude of the hardworking farmer (2 Tim 2:1-7), doing the hard work of building relationships in order to bear fruit.
  • Similarly, relationships and the fruit they bear in my life and other's lives are a gift of grace. In Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, "It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren."