My friend Mike Slaughter, lead pastor at Ginghamsburg, has created a signature project titled Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus. It comes in several venues: book (121 pages), training DVD (four week study), and booklet (for giving one to every member of your church).
One message of the book is Mike’s passionate “gift of irritation” to church leaders to ask why we’re not doing the things that matter most to God. “The true greatness of any local church is measured by how many people serve the marginalized,” he says. This involves getting the church into the world, more than getting the world into the church. “Let’s quite worrying about numbers in the pews and begin to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our homes, our communities and the outermost places of the world,” he says (both quotes from page xvii).
Indeed it’s humbling to see Ginghamsburg long-term commitment to places like Darfur, Sudan, as well as to the needy in their own community. This commitment has come at a cost to the congregation as Mike as challenged the congregation to focus its time, energy and budget to work for real change in a hurting world.
I read every word of the book. Theologically I’m uncomfortable with about 5% of it. But the other 95% was a kick in the pants to me, pushing me to be more active in making a tangible difference for Christ in a hurting world.
You can also go to Ginghamsburg’s Change the World conference on October 20-22, 2010, for three days of intensive training -– and spiritual discomfort!