[Guest Post by Caleb Breakey – I am so excited to introduce to you a very powerful voice to the 20 & 30-somethings community. He wrote a book for Harvest House (also my publisher, yay) and it’s entitled Called to Stay. You can pre order your copy here. He was also a speaker from the most recent Quarter Life Conference, and just HAD to repost his video below. If you have left the church, please know that you are not alone!]
Whether you’ve left the church in a quest for more God–you’re not alone.
People are tired and hurting and only see one direction: the exit. What they fail to see is that leaving a sick person is easy.
Healing her is hard.
But just staying in church doesn’t do anyone any good. It’s what we do in our churches—intentionally, like Jesus—that matters. Problem is, few of us are doing it. In fact, we’re running from it.
There are three ways to be an infiltrator starting with unity.
Treat others in the church like family. Learn first names and call other believers “brother” or “sister.” Embrace diversity, appreciate generational differences, and consider everyone in your church as more important than yourself.
Encourage other believers to love people and to do good things for unbelievers and believers alike. Look around your church and ask yourself how you can use your gifts to help others, not expecting anything in return.
Make friends with Christians of diverse backgrounds and denominations. Speak highly of other churches and pray for Jesus to do great work through them. Make secondary beliefs secondary, refusing to let non-essential opinions cut you off from fellowship. Aim to bring all believers together in unity, not uniformity.
The second way to be an infiltrator starts with depth.
Don’t try to overlook the difficulties and intricacies of Scripture in your calling to radically follow Jesus. And don’t let those same difficulties and intricacies choke your calling to love God and others. Live your life in beautiful tension, subtly inviting others to do the same.
Be committed to a real relationship with Jesus. Think more about how to live like Jesus in real life than you do about theoretically living like him.
Don’t desire to transfer your convictions into other believers. Simply make it your goal to help others live out the uncomplicated gospel of loving God, loving others, doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly.
Draw uptight believers into deeper levels of authenticity. Practice hospitality and true fellowship that centers on realness, truth, and love. Encourage your brothers and sisters on a very personal level, and listen not only for what’s said on the surface, but also what’s said underneath.
Explore hard questions that others won’t—but refuse to fall into endless arguments and debates. Only say things that fit the occasion and build others up. Refuse to shift topics just so you can say what you want to say.
Do not shy away from speaking directly to the evils that sneak into your church. Openly speak against lukewarmness, head knowledge, pharisaical living, Christian snobbery, spiritual laziness, pride, conditional love, borrowed faith, consumerism, judgmentalism, cynicism, and grieving the Holy Spirit. Like the Bereans in Acts, crosscheck what your fellow believers say, and speak up when half truths are taught as full truths, or parts of the Bible are never spoken of.
The last way to be an infiltrator starts with purpose.
Look at the Book of Acts and observe believers united in something so much greater than themselves. See believers living in unity and passion as though Jesus actually lives, and desperately want that for your church.
Go to church with an anticipation of worshiping God and glorying in his presence. Speak freely about heaven and what it will be like spending eternity with Jesus. Help others in your church see that there is so much more to the body than organization and institution. Your church is a mission, a movement, a calling.
Share the contagious stories God has orchestrated in your life. Retell stories of crazy faith, abandoned love, and seemingly unexplainable acts of God—viral stories that scream God is real, God loves his children, and God has a great purpose for our lives.
Being called to church doesn’t have to be difficult. Just invest time and energy into discovering and using the gifts and passions God has given you. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses, and put them to use in ways that push the boundaries of your own comfort. Use your gifts liberally for the body of Christ, help others discover their gifts, and aim to build God’s church through your church.
Value love above all else, and make it the rhyme and rhythm of your life. Be an Infiltrator.
Caleb Breakey is a former journalist and author of Called to Stay. Caleb is a frequent conference speaker with a sincere passion to lead, challenge, and inspire others in discussions about relationships, the church, and radically following Jesus. He lives in Washington State with his wife, Brittney. You can connect with Caleb on Twitter, Facebook, or my blog.
[Photo: palestrina55, Creative Commons]