How big is our Kingdom impact supposed to be? How big does God want our impact to be? Ever ask THAT?
His calling is for you and I to be salt of the EARTH and light of the WORLD. That language seems sizable, don’t you think? What’s really wild is that we are called to just let our light shine. We don’t create the light. We don’t crank up our own lights. We let our light, Jesus, shine—and Jesus is the one who makes us salty. (Matthew 5:13-16) Our global impact is actually His work.
The average church size in America is 75, but the harvest is still plentiful. Something is not right with our mathematical Kingdom equations. “Let’s take this city for Christ!” eventually translates into “How many does our auditorium seat?” Charles Arn says, “The longer a church exists, the more concerned the leaders and members become with self-service, and the less concerned with the church’s original mission and reason for being.” Such realities have locked our growth metrics into things like numbers, buildings, and dollars— and those don’t seem to be trending upward for most.
Mary Deymaz is pushing for disruption. I love everything about this type thinking. The sandbar just off the shoreline took me deeper in such thought.
Michael likes to paddleboard out to the sandbar. The sandbar is about 30 yards off the beach. You can stand in waist-high, clear, blue water at the sandbar. You can see the sea life beneath you at the sandbar. It’s comfortable. It’s where a lot of people hang out.
The worst part about getting to the sandbar is getting through the deep, dark, mysterious, precursory waters necessary to navigate your way to the sandbar. Michael hates this part of the journey. He paddles fast. He would never, never, ever swim it. Shark week keeps Michael securely on his paddleboard.
But the real problem is how sandbars shift and change with different wave and wind patterns. After going through the oceanic hell of the deep water, you can suddenly find the sandbar has shifted, moved, or completely disappeared.
The deep, mysterious waters of the church are numbers, buildings, and dollars. Having navigated those hungry monsters, pastors hope the comfort and reprise of a Kingdom sandbar awaits.
These days, many are finding the sandbar has shifted. What once was comfortable in church world, has changed—or even disappeared. Critics abound. Cynics lurk. How can God’s love be for all, but the Church remains segregated? How can broken communities exist in the shadows of massive church empires? The Kingdom math is not working for many, and for many pastors, discouragement if not disillusionment is setting in like wet cement.
And so Deymaz suggests, in his book “Disruption,” that churches must begin to disrupt like Amazon, Facebook, and Uber have done. A Deymaz disruption would include theology to encompass our growing multiethnic America, a disruptive witness to impact brokenness, and disruptive economics to finally, really change a city for Christ.
I’m a disruptor. I always have been. I absolutely love Deymaz’s book.
I spotted Michael and Sherry sitting on the paddleboard enjoying the calm, clear, blue, paradise waters of the sandbar. I swam through the deep, mysterious waters and then totally disrupted the quiet peace afforded by the inviting sandbar. I made quite an impact!
I continue to want God’s Kingdom impact through me to be large. It’s a Biblical idea. But these days I think it’s going to take some disruption. The sandbar is shifting—or has completely disappeared.
(author’s note: reading from Matthew 1-10; “How To Break Growth Barriers” by Carl F. George; “Disruption” by Mark Deymaz)