The information accessible to us today is tremendous. Reading blogs and articles authored by authentically successful pastors is part of my morning routine. Google Reader allows me to subscribe to multiple blogs, therefore daily I am inundated with inspirational information.
The latest trends in church growth are discussed constantly. This is how we did it, and this is how you should do it. If you cast this vision to your church you will see explosive growth. Sing this song, preach this series, and articulate this strategy. I love it; men I will never meet are mentoring me. I love reading and learning. The problem with this deluge of data is it begins to find its way into my verbiage. I find myself repeating what they said and bypassing the process they went through to get what they got. The words are coming from my mind not my heart. Probably best described as an echo. An echo is defined as a repetition of imitation of somebody else’s words, ideas, etc. The effect of an echo is short term and definitely not the stuff a movement is made of. Our world doesn’t need an echo; they need a voice.
God has a unique plan just for you and your church. This will call for your voice to be authentic not ambiguous. Learn all you can but also put your ear to the ground of your culture and listen to what God is saying to you for them. We need to be a voice not an echo.
If you want to talk revolutionary, or raw, authentic, or prolific, let’s talk about John the Baptist. The ministry of this man literally did away with the old order and birthed the new. His ministry was all about getting people ready to experience the Messiah of the Old Testament, in the form of a man. That man was Jesus. A few things popped out to me recently while reading about John.
John 1:23 – He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
1. He was called John the Baptist. Why? He baptized many people in water. He was known for what he did. Anointed action was his legacy.
2. He was the voice of one. It wasn’t a team of preachers who produced this revolution. Rather, it was one man fully possessed with making Jesus famous.
3. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness. His ministry was in the dry places. A voice in dry places is still needed.
4. He said he was the voice crying in the wilderness. If you are a voice – pump up the volume; pump it up, pump it up.
5. He called himself the voice. The expression of his passion was so focused his message and identity were one and the same. Your life shouts. Victory is waiting on a voice.
6. Scripture mandated his mission. He was speaking with authority because he was in alignment and agreement with the anointed word.
7. His voice cleared the pathway for Jesus. Focus and laser pointed direction were products of his voice.
8. He kept preaching Jesus was coming. It took awhile, but one great day, Jesus came walking down the pathway with promise. Keep speaking. Your vision will be fulfilled through your voice.
John decided to be a voice instead of an echo, and the rest is HIStory.