Waiting on the World to Change

I know that this is going to be sacrilegious for many of you, but I’m not a huge John Mayer fan. So much so, I had to check to see how his name was spelled. I’m not a hater. I would just say that I’m solidly in the neutral camp. If a song of his comes on, I’ll check other stations to see if there is a better song, but I don’t turn off the radio or switch to NPR or anything. Aren’t most John Mayer fans listening to NPR already? Is that an insult? I’m confusing myself.

There’s one John Mayer song in particular that I’m a little confused by–Waiting on the World to Change. Am I supposed to be inspired by that song? Is that a comforting song? A rallying cry? I don’t want to get labelled a hater for all you Mayer fans drinking lattes reading this. (is that an insult?) However, I find those lyrics uninspiring and a bit of a cop out.

I get the basic idea that “we” are not in charge of the government, so in some areas “we” are helpless. “We” can’t bring the soldiers back from war. Therefore, we wait. For what? Duh, the world to change. How does that happen? Waiting? I would like to suggest not.

I have a friend (really?) whom you should follow on the twitters. His name is Aaron Reddin. His twitter handle? Id? Username? is homelessheretic. Here is a guy when you get to know him thinks the world needs to change. He will tell you so in vivid language. He thinks the “fight ain’t fair.” He thinks the deck is stacked against the homeless and people should care more. He laments the government and the local church for not doing more.

He is not waiting on the world to change. He is changing the world, one person at a time. He is ministering to people, loving people and mobilizing more to help him. He is doing something and making a huge difference. He even has a van. You may be thinking, so what my grandpa has a van? Seriously, check him out. AaronReddin.com and find out about what he’s doing with that van to serve people.

We need so much more of that. I would rather have 100 people skeptical of the govt and organized church that are making a difference in the world, than 1000 nice people sitting in church waiting and wondering when the govt or the church (whoever that is) to do something about what they care about.

Questions: what are you passionate about? What people or need in the world has God put on your heart?
What are you doing about it? Are you waiting for the world to change? Or are you changing the world?

Coincidentally, we will be talking about this at church the next couple of weeks, but you don’t have to wait for that.

Where do I find it? (Nehemiah 1 follow up)

January 17, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership, Teaching

I will try (keyword: try) to post something every Monday after each week of the Nehemiah series.  Most of these topics that we will talk about on Sunday morning could be its own series.  There is so much that could be said, but no one wants to hang out there until 4.  So, I’ll drop a thought or two here.

We talked a lot about the passion and calling that Nehemiah had.  I believe that God has given each one of us a call.  This call comes from our strengths, skills, gifts and passions.  Some people wonder how they can find their calling.  How do you know?  Is it some supernatural moment?  Does it come from some internal tingling?  Will God send you a Twitter message?  “I’m serving and I enjoy it, but I don’t know if it rises to the level of ‘calling.’”

Here are some thoughts:

1) Don’t wait for some mystical confirmation or finding the ideal place to serve to start serving.  Maybe your passion is going to be children’s ministry, maybe it’s not.  You won’t find out by not serving or taking some gifting/passion inventory.  You will find out by serving in the children’s ministry.  Serve somewhere.  Serve in your church.  Respond to some ministry’s need in the community.  Go work with Habitat for a day.  Go feed the homeless.  Do something.  You aren’t going to think your way to your best fit.  You will serve your way there.

2) There is no such thing as a big call and a small call.  All calls come from God.  By definition, they are all big.  Better that someone respond to God’s call to a simple behind the scene’s ministry than feel like they have to do something.  Some people’s passion and calling is in the nursery with small babies.  These are tremendous servants who not only love precious babies but allow parents to worship freely and know that their baby is being loved on and cared for.  If god is the one leading and directing, that is not a downgrade from missionary in 3rd world country.

3) Serving is meant to be enjoyable.  Often we associate serving in the church with a workout.  “You know you did it right if you didn’t enjoy it and it hurts afterward.”  God has designed you to use your gifts.  When you do, God will bless you and you will be very glad that you did.”

4) Pressure + Guilt = Calling.  While that is the typical formula.  I disagree.  Passion + Gifts + Opportunity = Calling

Get out there.  Find a place where God can use you.  Pray.  Ask God to show you your passions and gifts.  Ask friends.

Expect God to do amazing things.


I’m pretty sure that I’ve talked about this before.  (Well, I know that I’ve talked about it.  The question is have I written about it, which, again, I’m pretty sure that I have)  Regardless, it bares repeating, especially since understanding this is a big next step for us at the Grove Church.  We talked about this at the town hall meeting.  (I know at least three of you are wondering why I stopped writing about the town hall.  It was surprising to me how unmotivated I have been to write something that I have already said.  My bad.)

For too often churches have “recruited volunteers.”  This has historically done by passing around clipboards and asking people to “fill a slot.”  If there is a less inspirational vision for getting people to serve in church, I have never heard it.

“If you will become a slot on my spreadsheet, then you will be able to shut me up about needing to fill slots on my spreadsheet.”

What the church needs are not people who feel obligated to do something that someone else tells them is important.  What the church needs are people who believe that they are called by God to serve and to lead, to own the ministry where they serve.  We don’t need people motivated by guilt–external or internal.

Everyone is gifted by God to serve.  There are unique talents and passions that you have.  God wants to use those to serve and minister to people around you.  Unfortunately, leaders can often just recruit/beg/arm-twist people into doing things that the leader is passionate about.  That is a short-term motivator, which is the reason why they are always passing the clipboard around.

If you are at the Grove Church, you have heard me speak very passionately about the need to love and serve our kids.  This isn’t to motivate those who don’t want to serve kids, but hopefully inspire those that do want to serve.  We need people who love kids, feel called to love and serve them.

We don’t want it to end there.  We don’t want you serving the church’s ministry.  We need people who want to partner and lead.  This is our ministry, and “our” doesn’t mean the church’s, it means you and the church.  We need you to own the ministry that you serve in.  Tell us and show us how to make it better.  Be creative, take risks.

I know that often the church has not good a job making people feel like they can be creative and take risks.  If you are a church leader and you are reading this, stop doing that.  If you are the only leader, then the ministry will only be as a good as you.  If you let other leaders lead, then it can be as good as the giftings and strengths of all of you.

This doesn’t simply apply to kid’s ministry.  We need people like this with students, hospitality, tech, the list goes on and on.  This is a great time in the history of the Grove (and hopefully your church as well).  To get to where the church needs to go next, we need you to believe that you have great value to add, are incredibly gifted, and we need you to use those gifts.

Not just to fill a slot but to be a champion.