When I was about thirteen or so, I nearly drowned. Okay, maybe I wasn’t really in as much danger as I thought but I was pretty sure at the time I was drowning. It certainly felt that way.
It happened one summer afternoon when my sister was invited to go swimming at a friend’s house. I had nothing really to do and Karen’s friends said I could tag along too so I went. To start with it was mostly just splashing around or playing Marco Polo or typical stuff like that. Then someone decided it would be fun to throw in some floats and after that, they decided to add a full-sized life raft. Suffice it to say the pool was getting a bit crowded.
Quick note, at that time I was not the best deep-water swimmer. I was more dog paddler than overhand proper technique kind of swimmer. I never opened my eyes underwater because I hated to get anything in my eyes, especially chlorinated water. But I was pretty good at holding my breath and I could swim well enough underwater. I had a method where I didn’t have to open my eyes to see where I was going; I stuck out my hands so I could feel the bottom or the end of the pool.
So, I started swimming from end to end underwater, under the inflatables and the other kids there. I was doing well until someone accidentally kicked me in the head (explains a lot, right?) and I let out a lung full of air half way across the pool in the deep end. I tried to pop up and found my head stuck under the raft. I started pushing around to find the edge but with my eyes closed I couldn’t see and with three kids in the raft I couldn’t push it up high enough to get the bottom off the water and make a pocket underneath the raft. I thought I was drowning. I panicked, I flailed, I made a complete and utter fool out of myself. Finally, I had presence of mind enough to push the raft one way and kick the other to get out from under it.
Thinking of this reminded me of what it is like sometimes to make disciples and build up the body of a church for the next generation of believers. We swim along using the techniques and methods we know best and then suddenly, find that they don’t work like they used to. We flail around in response to that hoping to get out from under the loss of connections and disciples hoping to find something to keep us afloat. Or, we find ourselves coasting along, comfortable with our technique because it works for us.
I think there is another way, a more proactive way to make disciples and grow the church and over the next few weeks I want to explore that in this article by answering a series of questions that I am going to ask. Each week I will explore one of these questions and hopefully, get some feedback from you. If you like (and I would love it if you did), feel free to respond by email/text/pony express, etc. Without further ado, here are the questions:
- What scares you as a person? A church member?
- Where do you see this church after you’re gone, whether that’s a few year or a few decades from now?
- How do we destroy the church? What would keep that from happening?
- Are we interested in the truth about our faith or more interested preserving our version of the faith?
- How do we stay ahead of things so that we don’t get left behind?
I think it will be a fun few weeks. Remember, if you have answers to the questions, send them in.