This week, I had the opportunity and privilege to attend a training session hosted by Forge Chicago and led by Alan Hirsch on “Unleashing a Missional Revolution in the Church.” I have read a number of Alan’s books and have always appreciated his clear heart for the church, as well as his desire to encourage a missional perspective and passion in God’s people.
One of the quotes I enjoyed the most from the evening was his comment in reference to Ephesians 4, which he calls “THE book that points to the idea of the church God intended.” For example, Ephesians 4:16 says, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Alan’s comment was that “Ephesians is not just written to a certain segment of the church. It is not just directed to clergy or laity. We are all given a role. We all get to play!”
I love this idea, the “we all get to play” concept. But in reality, what we often see in the church is that the people in the pews abdicate much of the “play” to the professional Christians in their churches. Certainly, laypeople contribute in multiple ways to the life of a church. But I often see a 80/20 principle at work, in which just a segment of the church is committed and contributing. How do we help the entirety of a church congregation understand and embrace the idea that “we all get to play?”
Mothers, in particular, are often left behind in the invitation to participate more fully in the pursuit of their churches’ missions when they begin having children. After they survive the initial fog of sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn, they are often invited to serve in the nursery or children’s ministry instead of being asked to contribute in ways that line up with ther God-given giftedness and calling. For some women, the nursery/children’s ministry roles may be a good fit, but for others, being asked to serve in these capacities will reduce their connectedness to and passion for the church’s mission.
Who are the people in your churches that need to be reminded that they “get to play”?