In Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks’s character receives an apology that his squad is getting deployed to another dangerous mission. In Saving Private Ryan, Lt. Col. Anderson tells Tom Hanks’s character “It was a tough assignment. That’s why you got it.” God sends his best out…every time. Paul, Peter, John, Timothy…
Paul likens being a minister to being a soldier, and as such, you will be deployed places you wouldn’t go for vacation. Sadly, ministry has been distorted into a privileged position of indulgence rather than a sacrificial lifestyle of mission. We witness a religious celebrity empire building enterprise that sickens the souls of those who help to build it.
Ironically, the church that has always been reticent to grasp technology found church leaders take to social media like ducks to water. Want to know why? Because social media is all about building a platform, a following, and that’s been going on for a very long time with ministers. Social media was just a new tool to make it happen more effectively under the guise of “doing ministry”. Ever noticed how “doing ministry” looks an awful lot like living in the lap of luxury while you make a name for yourself?_
Meanwhile, many front line church planters scrape to pay their bills. Like Paul, they’re naked, hungry, and content with food, clothing and shelter. What would he say to the pastor who flies 1st class around the world on “ministry trips”, indulges in the latest gadget at the Apple store as a ministry expense, then sells his old one on ebay and pockets the cash. What would he think of the Pastor who eats expensively at fine restaurants on the church’s dime, and lives like the CEO of a major corporation? The system is backwards when the kingdom was wired for expansion but pays mere lip service to mission. The CEOs of large church empires make almost double (six figures) what their fellow pastors on staff make, while they eek out a pittance of one to two hundred dollars a month to the missionaries actually expanding the borders of the kingdom on the front lines. The guys who get paid the most sit on their butts, drink coffee, talk to people all day, read books, and imagine themselves to be changing the world from behind a desk. We should be flipping the tables if we valued them for what they were doing. Speaking to a room full of Christians or building personal celebrity should come cheap. We should be paying the kingdom expanders the big money.
Missionaries deserve danger pay, as they take all the risks, daily climb out of the foxholes, and break past the barbed wire. Trust me, even the average church goer is doing more to change the world for Jesus than the average minister. You know why? Because they’re “out there” in the work place amongst the people who need to be reached actively expanding the kingdom through talking to people.
When a guy does finally decide to go “out there” and plant, he usually ignores the mission objectives to expand the kingdom into dark places, and instead targets areas that are already occupied with military instillations. Have you ever watched the snail trail of church planting movements working through the narrow corridor of the yuppie social strata? We don’t need more yuppie church plants in affluent areas. We need yuppie churches in affluent areas to plant out into the poor communities surrounding them. I realize now that much of what I’ve heard urban planting is merely lip service by middle class white guys to make them feel less white and sound more ghetto. Talk is cheap. So are Christians.
Even Jesus said that the world is wiser with their money than the children of the kingdom. Why? Because the children of the world invest in their kingdom. The children of God don’t invest in His. Instead, they sow little and reap little.
Planters often go where the money is, not where the need is. You know why? Because they’re looking to support themselves. Somehow the model has shifted. Men are looking for the mission to support them before they’re looking to support the mission. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul asserts both the right for church planters to make their living from the gospel, but also the reality that it will burden the church in most scenarios. We should be looking to support the mission until the mission can support us. Instead, we walk away when there is no money in the mission, assuming God has it covered. Perhaps God wanted you to go boldly where no man has gone before, so that you could become the tip of the spear, and break the hardened ground for the kingdom.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.