Held accountable

I finished my message yesterday at Jacob’s Well with Tony Campolo’s story about throwing a birthday party for a prostitute in the middle of the night.

(Great story, if you don’t know it see his book, The Kingdom of God is a Party. You can also find it on the web on sites like this.  But buy his book anyway.)

It’s a powerful story that calls us out of our “nice and tidy” ministries and out into the “down and dirty” love that Jesus was about.  My concluding words were, “What if there was a church that threw birthday parties for prostitutes in the middle of the night?  I want to be the pastor of a church like that, and I hope that you want to help Jacob’s Well be that kind of church too.”

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Afterwards a woman came up and said, “Great message, I love that vision of the church. But I wonder if you really mean it.”  She went on to a say a few other positive but challenging things and then ended by saying, “I’ll be watching you.”  I told her I needed accountability, we all do.  She had been burn by a church that didn’t practice what it taught, and is sharp enough to know that while I’m not Jacob’s Well, if I don’t believe and practice something it is pretty unlikely the church will either.

My first reaction – Wow!  Someone was listening and taking me seriously enough to call me on what I say.  That’s what preaching is all about.

Another reaction – Being a precarious pastor and a congregation that ministers from the margins rather than soft, safe center of its resources and comfort level isn’t easy.  We have to hold each other accountable so we will go where Jesus goes.  We also have to encourage each other and remind each other of the vision with which God leads us out of the wilderness of our comfort zone.

Anyone else ready for this journey?  What will we have to give up to be that kind of church, and are we willing to do it?

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5 responses to “Held accountable

  1. I’m going to take a guess – it was Katie (Toren’s mom) that challenged you! Whoever it was – awesome!

    Ok, well then, if we are going to be that kind of church we should get to it! What if we just “do”!

  2. Actually, no. But don’t try to guess. That’s not the point. The point – as you appear to also be pointing at – is that we all need this challenge. While we are busy debating the best way to do something, Jesus has already left the room and is touching a life that is waiting for him.

    Where will we be?

  3. What an exciting vision. The road you tread is not an easy one, but this is where the kingdom of GOD is at.

    Grace and Peace

  4. Sharing your interest in Tony Campolo’s work, I thought you might like to see this video of him: http://www.eastern.edu/change

  5. Shameless self-promotion 🙂 but hey, I love it. Thanks for linking it to the blog. If you want to see the video it is at the bottom of the page linked, or you can see it directly on YouTube at this link:

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