The Rocky Mountain American Baptist
A Newsletter of the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains
Dream BIG to Re-Engage
Re-engaging our Community
The theme of this newsletter is RE-ENGAGE.
Hmmm, my question is, why did we ever DIS-ENGAGE?
I was happily in the audience at a webinar recently featuring Bob Goff. Bob, if you don’t know him, is a lawyer, author and world-changer. His first book Love Does rocked my world and his second book, Everybody, Always humbled and inspired me.
He’s not a theologian, so if you read one of his books (his latest is called Dream Big) don’t expect deep theological grounding for his simple mantra to Love People. What I like about Bob is his infectious laughter, determined optimism and commitment to making the world better, in generous ways, because of his love for Jesus.
During the Webinar Bob asked three related questions:
What do you want?
Why do you want it?
What are you going to do to get it?
Then, he built the case for living a generous, people-focused life of serving in response to all that God has done for us.
I have been in many conversations with a variety of people over the past few months. One common theme that tied most of these conversations together was very disheartening for me to hear. It was the repeated theme of ‘retreat’. The theme of disengagement.
I’m probably naive but I don’t get it. Oh, I understand that people have to be safe and cautious and quarantine and stay at home and not venture out too far because of COVID-19. But I don’t understand how doing so gives us as followers of Jesus a “skip” card when it comes to serving others in His name?
Historically, when things go south in culture ... even in a pandemic ... Christians are the ones who step up to serve and to give and to help and to engage. While others are hiding or disengaging or running away, it’s the church of Jesus, His body, who are ‘running into the flames’ so to speak.
When I think of Bob’s three questions, I can think of all kinds of things I want materially; a new mountain bike, good back-packing gear, a well-funded retirement, a 35-year-old body. But that’s not what he’s asking. With these questions he wants me to Dream Big about life, and the world and our impact and the Gospel.
So, in light of that, what I really want is for the guys that work in my bike shop to know Jesus. I want my neighbors (who are far from God) to move close to Him. I want my life to impact others to see God and to know Him through Jesus in a personal, experiential way. I want to take a genuine interest in people around me.
And to answer that second question, “Why do I want it?” I guess it’s because I’ve learned that living a life that’s focused on others and being generous with what I have makes me really, really happy. Kind of like I was made to live like that.
Then that third question, “What are you going to do to get it?” Well, first of all, I’m not going to let a virus disengage me from loving and serving others. I’m actually going to find creative and bold ways to live out the gospel and engage my faith while being smart and wise about the dangers of the coronavirus. What does that mean?
Most importantly, it means that I believe God is in control, the church was never a building, people need Jesus now more than ever, and that I am a follower of Jesus obedient to Him. It means I ENGAGE (Re-Engage if necessary) my community and neighborhood. It means I think and dream up and imagine ways to serve others unlike I’ve ever done before, even if it’s from the safety and shelter of my own home.
In Bob Goff’s words it means:
Remembering that comfortable doesn’t make me grow
Keeping my head on a swivel looking for opportunities to serve and love
Looking at what’s directly adjacent to me, what’s near me and start there
Making time for someone to listen and share
Remembering that my words and love have POWER
I am not an umpire, I am a cheerleader; I don’t judge, I love
Living authentically and stop trying to impress others
And it means I act on what I see and hear and learn. I can make phone calls, and social media contacts, and send notes, and drop off flowers or balloons or toilet paper, and rake leaves, deliver a meal, encourage my city officials, give some stuff away, stop and talk with my neighbors 6-feet apart, disciple someone over FaceTime, repair and give away some bikes, surprise a barista with a tip in a thank you note, give my letter-carrier a gift card for a pedicure … the list goes on.
See a need, discover a hurt or loss, meet a neighbor ... and ENGAGE. That’s fairly simple.