:so how do you feel about that?:

sorry that it's been so long since the update, but better than most of the blogs out there since many of them have been left for dead.

not this one baby.

so over the last few weeks, i've been speaking regularly at either church, some youth event, or 180. speaking is something i've grown to love, while also knowing that it takes a lot out of me. after coming back from my conference in the states, people say i've grown in my preaching. i'm not so sure i agree, but then again i'm not the one that's sitting there listening to me on a bi-weekly basis.

so after speaking at 180 i tend to stay in the tabernacle to pray and catch up with people. i value this time because generally this is when people are doing some intense convo'ing with the lord. whenever i leave the tabernacle on saturday nights i get a short pang of grief, knowing that i'm willingly walking away from such a powerful atmosphere of faith.

so a few weeks ago, after speaking and honestly giving it my all, i pushed open the doors with a sigh.


then i put on the smile and continued to meet the new people. (i think i will blog about the post-180 experience) talking with a few new comers is always fun and reminds me of when i first came to 180. i soon found myself talking with a bubbly young woman who seemed sharp and 'with it', whatever that means.

she shared that she was in HK doing some HKG church shopping, and she wanted to commit to one before deciding to move here and accept a job offer that was on the table. i commended her priorities on the matter, and then i asked, as i always do, how did you hear about 180?

she then said something along the lines of, "Well, i've heard from other places that this church has a lot of young people, and that 180 has a lot of young adult Christians."

for a split second i felt the presence of pride welling in my spirit, but then the reality of us having less numbers these days as well as a couple failed attempts at starting some small groups brought my soaring confidence down to a respectable level...

i told her honestly that we are very far from being a perfect or even a good ministry. it wasn't fake humility, i was bluntly honest and told here where i saw the gaping holes in our ministry. we discussed this for a few minutes, then she asked this...

"I actually heard that 180 was the largest young adults ministry in Hong Kong. So how do you feel about that?"

now, i know for a fact that there are no statistics published to confirm this, and i also know that there are numerous churches who have vibrant young adult programs. i also know that we were operating way below our potential. i also knew that she was testing me, almost like this was her 'interview the pastor' session before she commits to the vine and 180. also knew that she was really listening intently and was wanting me to respond.

but i also knew that i've never thought about it.

it's not like in my leadership team meetings we put up the names of all the other churches on a wall and then throw food at them and cheer for ourselves for having the best attendance for the 5 week running. it's not the billboard 100 of young adults fellowships. the only competition that i enjoy is playing basketball, tennis, and anything on the nintendo DS... but trying for the largest ministry? come on. i've never wanted to "THE" largest anything. the only thing that's getting too big for me to handle is my waist line, and that's without even trying.

about 5 seconds ticked away while i weighed her question, and while i was thinking of what i should say as the pastor... which angle should i take? the humble 'we still have a long way to go' path... or what about the strong leader response 'yes, and we know that we walk in the blessing of the lord'... or how about the non-cholant 'yes we're aware of this but we dont really talk about it' answer....

another couple of seconds passed, and sensing she wanted a response, i decided that i would tell her the boring truth.

"i didn't know that, but that's not really an issue. i'm more focused more on our lack of discipleship, how to train our future leaders, and how to start new cell groups."

success is measured differently when it comes to a ministry. numbers is only one aspect. it's entirely possible to have a great big ministry that is lacking the Lord's presence. is God happy with 180? sure he is, but at the same time, i know beyond a doubt her grieves for this ministry as well. i know where we fall short of the calling we have been given.. but too many people jump on bandwagons and follow hype.

i mean, look at Spiderman 3... all hype, no substance. (sorry if you love spidey) same with Underworld. bleagh. transformers. ew. TMNT. poo. PS3. *yawn* hype sucks. substance... LASTING substance is what really matters.

this next year is all about that. substance. i would say that before part of me was about hype, about numbers, about having a certain type of ministry. now, i know the type of ministry that God desires... the type of ministry that the people need, no wait.. the type of ministry that the people are dreaming for. should that not be my benchmark of success? should that not be the goal?

so that it was i think about that.


Popular Posts