In HOPE
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David Timms 

Issue 5.20

Ministry Resource

Have you searched for a clear, well-organized, non-sensationalist, and sensible commentary on Revelation? Dr. Chris Davis's volume - a part of The College Press NIV Commentary Series - is outstanding. Davis makes such good sense that you may find yourself wondering, as I have, how the Revelation was ever elevated to Fear Factor-status. 

HOPE Happenings

Classes started this week at Pacific Christian College (our undergraduate school) with a near-record Freshman enrollment. Meanwhile the University continues to establish strategic partnerships with many para-church agencies; the latest being Christian World Mission and Church Resource Ministries .

Reasonable Participation

Some leaders assume that people will come, just because they always have. Just keep the doors open - to the program, the classroom, or the sanctuary - and it will suffice. If the leader has charming personality, a strong pulpit presence, or a witty sense of humor, all the better. Indeed, such traits can carry the day for a while - even a long while.

 

However, the majority of leaders - from church pastors to Sunday School teachers and home group facilitators - don't have overpowering personality or excessive doses of self-confidence. Most of us are not able to deliver high-powered performances on the public stage. Yet, we hope people will come.

 

But why will they come?

 

Our culture is constantly looking for value and worth. Unless the gathering - whether a class, a cell group, or a congregation - has clear value to the participants, they will inevitably drift away. This value must be something tangible, meaningful, and consistent.

 

For some groups, the glue is life-changing learning; for others, significant relationships; yet others may focus on meaningful service or mission.

 

What we can say is this: Habit is no longer a sufficient motive. People are so weary and stressed that they have little desire to sacrifice evenings or mornings for anything they deem pointless. Habit may sustain some people for a season, but not forever.

 

In a culture frazzled by pressure, overwhelmed by time-demands, and exhausted by sleeplessness and work, weekday nights and weekend mornings have become too precious to waste. We may not like the frantic lifestyles of our people, but it forces us to re-assess why anyone would join us in a venture.

 

Many home groups offer no more relational depth than we find in the workplace. Many congregational programs leave us as isolated afterwards as before. Many church services fail to connect us meaningfully with either God or each other. Why would anyone participate in such endeavors? What compelling reason do they have for participating?

 

Most groups experience cyclical histories. At some point they have a driving focus and purpose, which may subtly change with time and become a mere routine. At that point, the group needs a re-envisioning.

 

We gain very little by wringing our hands in despair or accusing the lapsed of being "unfaithful." Indeed, the charge of "unfaithful" perhaps is equally levelled at us (the leaders) if we drop the ball that once gave our people direction and enthusiasm.

 

Many of our groups, programs, and ministries may be languishing for the same reason - lack of common vision that binds us strongly together. What has been your compelling vision in the past? What will it be in your future?

 

Each of us, whether we play the role of a formal leader or not, have the capacity to inject a God-given vision in most settings. And when there's an attractive reason, we all enjoy participating.

 

In  HOPE -

 

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/