Most of us want to become the people God intends for us to be. We strive to become like Christ – people of integrity who are generous, loving, and authentic.
But how do we actually get there when change feels so difficult and even impossible at times?
When my wife, Theresa, and I moved from West Virginia to Dallas, Texas, so that I could attend seminary, one of the first things we did was find a church to attend.
We found one that was very different from most churches we knew in West Virginia, which are under 100 people. This one had over 2,500 people! Not only were we blown away by the size, but also by the quality of the teaching. I went to a Sunday School class taught by the editor of the NIV Bible translation at the time. It was like attending a Bible conference every weekend with amazing things for our kids, too.
But I’ll never forget the Sunday we came to the door of the church and I turned to my wife and asked her, “Do you feel like going to church today?” And she said, “No.” I said, “Me either. Want to go to Wendy’s?”
“Sure,” she said.
When we got to Wendy’s, I blurted out, “Honey, something’s wrong. I’ve never been in a church with such good teaching and such great programs. But I just feel so… blah.”
“I feel exactly the same way!” Theresa confessed.
That day, we both realized that the reason we felt so unmotivated and unfulfilled wasn’t because the church wasn’t good enough. It was because all we were doing was eating spiritually but never exercising. The grace of God wasn’t flowing through us to help other people. We were in a small group and getting a ton of great teaching, but we weren’t exercising our gifts.
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Here’s what I learned:
Becoming the person that you long to become cannot happen by simply being a spectator and receiver of great spiritual food in a great spiritual environment.
That’s because God designed each and every one of us to be ministers.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 6:11-13)
Being the person Christ wants us to be requires that we are equipped for “works of service.” Why? So that “the body of Christ may be built up” and we “become mature.”
Amazing things happen when leaders equip, and every member realizes they are ministers with the living Christ working through them.
Whether you’re a student, a stay-at-home mom, or working at a company, you are Christ’s representative. How you live, talk, love, and communicate matters. You’re the hope of this world!
And it all starts when you step outside the door of your home, look around, and realize that most people do not have a personal relationship with God. There is a great need, and there’s a God who loves them. But they’re less likely to know this if you don’t show them.
This is the way the Church works. Church isn’t about coming, listening, spectating, and saying, “The music was okay. I stayed awake most of the time. Now I’m going to go out and try to be a nice person.”That is not it!
Being the Church – Christ’s representatives – is about getting equipped. It’s about finding ministries aligned with your hearts and passions, and then beginning to serve.
And as you serve, the grace of God will fill you and He will use you. I’m confident that when you do, you’ll have an amazing experience and people’s lives will be changed.
To learn more about how to have real life change and how to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ, check out more of Chip’s resources.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip