Have you ever wondered why Cleopas and the other disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus that first Easter afternoon didn’t recognize Jesus when he fell in alongside them? It was a seven mile trek heading Northwest, so maybe the setting sun was in their eyes. They were talking about the news of Jesus’ empty tomb and what it meant, so maybe they were just caught up in their discussions. I doubt if it was because Jesus was wearing a hoody and they just couldn’t see his face. No one today knows for sure, but I suspect that Jesus was somehow different, yet still Jesus. They weren’t expecting him in the first place and they certainly didn’t expect him to be somehow different. Could it be that like Jesus walking beside them unrecognized, that there are God-given resources within the reach of our congregations that are also unrecognized – and therefore unused in ministry?
I have spoken with leaders of churches that used to be a lot bigger. They often focus on the money and people that they don’t have any longer and feel helpless to do what they once did. I have spoken with leaders of churches that keep comparing themselves to some big congregation nearby and conclude that since they don’t have the resources of that congregation, they can’t do ministry like them. But what if God isn’t asking your congregation to do ministry like you used to do ministry? And what if God isn’t asking your congregation to do ministry like that big church across town? What if Jesus asks you simply to use whatever resources you have to join him in ministry today?
Gather some of your leaders together and identify some of the unrecognized God-given resources that are available to you to invest in ministry that makes a difference to others. Be specific. List them out on newsprint or a white board. Here is a list of questions to help you get going, but don’t limit yourselves to just these questions.
even if at times irritatingly so, consider forwarding it to
other leaders in your congregation and encouraging them to
sign up at www.congregationalexcellence.com.
JeffDr. Jeff Stiggins
The Center for Congregational Excellence