This past weekend I had the tremendous honor of being invited to teach the “Re-Effect” conference for The Salvation Army. As what usually happens when Jeff Wallace and I teach, we were inspired far more than anything we were able to give away. I love being with people who love Jesus and have a heart to see the world transformed by a relationship with Him. The Lord really spoke to me in a myriad of ways at this event. The speakers, of course, touched my heart. Yet, it was conversations, and the building of new friendships that fed me deeply. I was encouraged to learn of a denomination where young adults are NOT leaving the church, instead are actually heading out with a deep faith to serve Christ.
This denominational conference (Did you remember they are a denomination?) reminded me yet again about the importance of broadening our “church” and “ministry” worldview. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day of being where we are that we never learn about others. The unfortunate bi-product when this happens is we end up only seeing about what is at the end of our nose, and this shapes our perspective on everything we do. I believe one of the reasons we end up proud and “narrow-minded” is we don’t actively take time to learn about what Jesus is doing outside of our building, our neighborhood or even our state.
So how do we do this:
Visit “Another” Church
In 2013 I had the opportunity to visit almost 15 different churches in 13 different denominations, all which kept Christ at the center of all they do. There were different styles of singing, different traditions, and even different ways of celebrating communion. In every one, I met a lot of people who really love the Lord. On a Sunday when you might be on vacation or “off,” then purposely sit in a “different type” of church. See what you might learn!
Go To A Conference:
Find a Christ-centered conference (Shameless plug: like maybe SYMC?) out of your denomination and GO! It doesn’t have to be large or even national; it just needs to draw together different people, approaching ministry and life differently. Now when you are there (those of us who are introverts have to work on this) don’t just hang out with people you know. Purpose to talk to someone (preferably more than one) and hear their story. We might just get some fresh ideas. (Fun Fact: All speakers at SYMC are encouraged to spend time with attendees far beyond teaching times. Don’t be afraid to ask about a meal or cup of coffee with one!)
Read A Book:
Learn about other denominations, heroes of the faith or even other “types of ministry.” Leadership books are awesome, but what about learning from others who are approaching ministry differently? We begin to see a pattern rise of ways God is working in His people in a myriad of ways.
Hang Out With Those Who Do Something “Different.”
Recently, I had the chance host a discussion with people who were invested in rural, inner city and suburban youth ministry. It was fun to hear the shock in their voices as they discovered all of different ways they were actually alike, as were those they ministered to. Find people outside of youth ministry to talk with. Spend time with someone in youth ministry who is in a different setting and purposefully to listen to them.
It’s very easy to stay in our own little lane and never learn about the ways the body of Christ is working around the world. This past weekend showed me once again how important it is to keep learning, it broadens my perspective.
What are you doing to gain perspective?