The Pulse is starting a new writing exercise: we’re getting our EFCC Catalysts to offer your perspective and maybe even advice from within their area of experience. Neil is our National Mission Director, and in this piece, he’s suggesting some next steps in our Revitalize initiative.
This past week I ran across the phrase, “What fills your heart will lead your life”. The principle stated here is not new or revolutionary by any stretch, but it is worth thinking about.
The implications for followers of Jesus are staggering.
As part of our EFCC theme, Revitalize: Becoming a Gospel Sharing People, I conducted a survey with EFCC churches to see how our gospel sharing endeavors are going. I talked with pastors and a few board chairs from 120 of our churches. There is a general feeling that we have some room to grow in sharing the gospel. One question asked was, “on a scale of 1-10 (low to high) how passionate do you feel your church is to share the gospel?” The answer across the EFCC – 5.6. That answer was often qualified by statements about how there is a passion to share the gospel that does not necessarily translate into intention or action.
When I asked pastors about the obstacles they see people in their churches struggling with, as they try to share the gospel; the top responses fell into these five categories:
- too busy
- a lack of spiritual passion
- a lack of relationship with non-Christians
- a lack of personal experience with, or understanding of, the gospel
As I have mulled over these results, I wonder if what we really have is a “heart” problem. John tells us that “love drives out fear” (I Jh 4:18). Paul seems to indicate that love is the starting point as well. “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts…Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives…and whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Col. 3:14-17).
Are we struggling with sharing the gospel because deep down there are other things that compete for the attention of our hearts? Is that the primary reason we feel we are too busy and lack passion? Have our hearts truly been captured by a ravishing vision of the love of Christ and his good news, which is filling every corner of our lives?
Maybe what fills our hearts will actually lead our lives.
These are challenging thoughts for me. As the EFCC National Mission Director, I’m supposed to be encouraging evangelistic efforts, church planting, and mission in Canada. Yet there are days when I have to step back and ask myself “what is filling my heart?” And if it isn’t Christ and his good news, how am I supposed to encourage others along the same path? If we desire to be a gospel sharing people, I believe we first have to be a gospel saturated people.
Let’s pray together toward that goal.