About three years ago I had a gentleman pay me one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever been given. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, however. He said “All you care about are the unsaved.” (pause) His intention was to suggest that as a church we weren’t providing enough specific ministry for those who already believe.
I heard his heart and we talked through, what turned out to be, a very specific issue that he had that really wasn’t about the ministry we were providing at all.
But still, the statement stuck with me for weeks and reminded me of the scripture where the religious were criticizing Jesus and labeled him “A friend of sinners.” Honestly, no leader enjoys any level of criticism but I have to say that this one served as a moment of confirmation that as a fellowship we were on the right path and truly following the heart of Christ himself.
Can anyone care TOO MUCH about those who don’t know Christ?
Not a chance and here’s why.
1. At some point, we were ALL lost
There is a real danger that’s present the longer we walk with Christ. The farther away we get from the point of our initial encounter with Him, the easier it is to forget what it was like to be hopeless, hurting and lost.
The cure for spiritual apathy is to rehearse often the moments that led up to the freedom we found in Christ. To remember the pain and restlessness associated with a life void of him. Every time I remember it, I am immediately filled with gratitude for the people who were thinking about me then. Without their compassion and willingness to give, serve and focus on the lost, I would have never been found.
We must pay it forward.
2. The scriptures themselves have a single focus and theme
The late Adrian Rogers summarized it well when he said “The bible addresses one issue, sin. It has one villain, the devil. It has one hero, Jesus. It has one purpose, the glory of God to save.”
The cross is a brutal and bloody reminder that there is nothing that God wasn’t willing to do to rescue the perishing.
We must continue this legacy of love.
3. When you make the lost your focus, God makes you His focus
A couple of years ago I went to a coaching network at Newspring and shared a few moments with Perry Noble over coffee. I asked him several questions during our time but this one got a significant reaction. “With all the massive risks that Newspring consistently takes, how much fear do you deal with that things may not work?”
He raised his eye brows and the tone of his voice changed. “I know that at times leaders may miss it, but I have never, ever, ever doubted that God will always bless the church that focuses on the lost…HE GAVE HIS SON FOR THIS SINGLE REASON. TO NOT BLESS THOSE WHO HAVE COMMITTED THEMSELVES TO THIS, WOULD BE TO GO AGAINST HIS OWN SACRIFICE!”
It got my attention and he’s right.
CCA will thrive, but not because of any great leader or leaders. It will thrive as long as it stays focused on the very purpose for which Jesus was sent into this world.
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to find and restore those who are lost”