I have had some pretty extraordinary moments in this journey. I have fed people at homeless shelters, visited the prisons, tent communities, hospitals and 3rd world nations. These events were more like excursions as most of my time was spent doing church work. Accounting, Sunday School teaching, Women’s ministry leader, Christian Ed director, Ministry Coordinator, you name it and I have probably done it. Sometimes paid, often times not. I loved to study church growth principles and have challenging discussions about the Bible with other believers. I even got a theology degree since in my heart I was out to change my world.
The only problem was my world wasn’t changing. I had success within the confines of the converted, but the unconverted world was not changing. Over time I had drifted further from the unreached (with the exceptions of a few ‘outreach opportunities’) and became more focused on the reached. The ministries I was involved in were good works-but were they the best work for me? This question haunted me—had I sacrificed the best for the good?
When I read about Jesus, I see Him extending Himself to engage others—especially those others dismissed. As my career changed, I found myself in the company of a disenfranchised, broken world. A disconnect between my church life and the world around me emerged. I could not shake it. When I mentioned how disconnected I felt, my Christian friends and ministers often pointed to the ‘good works’ of the church. My heart yearned for authenticity-congruence in my corporate worship and my work.
It took a young, very impoverished, former gang banger to fully awaken me. One day he told me how he would sneak into churches and hide, listen and watch the services. I was intrigued with the hiding and his quest to know truth. His explanation, “The people were so clean, perfect and wealthy that I knew I could never fit, so I hid.” As tears ran down my face, a truth I had never thought of before, exited my mouth. I exclaimed, “Oh, it’s just a Sunday costume! Those people are more like you than they know. Or you know.”
That encounter was riveting for me. I knew that we Christians were more like the fallen, unreached, and rejected than we wanted the world to know. I realized, gazing into the sullen eyes of that juvenile delinquent, how desperately he needed to know the truth—our truth.
I rediscovered that early passion. I left the institutional church with its great programs and people. This action may not be for everyone—but it was time to return to my truest calling—the lost. I am daily on a mission to reach people through the love of God. I am living my dream of changing the world through this love, face-to-face, fully engaged, one heart at a time. This means I purpose to pause and listen, heal and restore, lift and encourage. I have lead more people to Christ in these few years than all the previous decades together. Yes, I escaped, the prison of agendas, good deeds and excellent associates—for a life that is fully engaged with those who are in need of the Great Physician, the Redeemer, the Restorer, the Peace of Peace—Jesus.
Elaine Q. Potts Choose One Thing
Visit Elaine’s blog site