Clarity Produces Confidence

Dear Everyone,

This is long … perhaps you’ll think it worth it to bear with me.

I want to spend some time talking about a phrase which has found its way into my mind and heart the past several weeks and even months. Here it is: “Clarity produces confidence.”

The meaning of the phrase (as I’ve internalized it) is that when we hear and receive the specific direction of the Lord in our lives—His guidance—the result is confidence. We’re confident because we’ve been commanded or directed by God Himself. The One who has called and guided us will also provide whatever is needed to obey and follow through with His direction. When we clearly hear His voice, then we know what to trust Him for. We can bank on His faithfulness to complete the work He has begun in us.

This concept—this phrase—is one that I’ve experienced many times over the years. When we first moved to Monterey, I believed strongly that the Lord was going to further expand the pastoral and teaching call upon my life. How did I know that? There was a dream, there were prophetic visions, there was the Word of God spoken into my heart on several occasions, and there was the confirmation of leaders and other believers we’d known in Southern California. It was crystal clear what the Lord was calling me to do. Therefore, I had the confidence to begin pastoring a church at the tender age of 25 (soon to be 26, mind you). Clarity produces confidence.

I can point to a huge number of other examples in my own life which illustrate the phrase, “Clarity produces confidence.” Some of them have to do with my marriage, some have to do with personal decisions (such as financial decisions), most of them with the myriad of decisions related to a life of ministry. But whatever the kind of situation, whenever I was certain that I was in the will of God, I was then able to rely upon Him for the commitment, strength, wisdom, or resources necessary to follow through. Clarity brought confidence. It still does.

I remember one particular incident that stands out. It happened very early in my ministry as senior pastor of Calvary Chapel in Monterey, where I served for 27 years. Sensing the leading of the Lord, we invited a very well known speaker/author/teacher to come and lead a four day evening seminar for us. We would hold it in a neutral facility and invite the entire community to come. Well, the speaker accepted our invitation and then referred me to his secretary to work out the logistics. It was then that I was informed that his honoraria would be an astonishing $500.00 per lecture! Not much money now, but back in 1979, it was a lot.

I was shocked. We Calvary guys prided ourselves on the “where God guides, God provides” philosophy. We would never ask for money, and we would never require a set honorarium for our services. So this amount of $500.00 seemed outrageous to me. Besides that, the church’s entire monthly budget at that time was around $1800, if I remember correctly. So the four days would exceed our entire monthly expenditures, and that didn’t include travel costs, hotel costs, printing, mailing, or other forms of publicity!

I was bummed. Not only was I bummed, I was disillusioned. How could this be? I thought this man was a godly leader. How could he charge so much? I didn’t know what to do. So I prayed (VERY good strategy). As I prayed and honestly poured out my heart to the Lord, the Lord used a verse of scripture that He caused to pop into my head (this is called “rhema”—Ephesians 6:17). The verse was Romans 14:4: “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”

What a blessing! The Lord was speaking clearly to me that He is the One that called and appointed this brother as His servant. He was answerable to Him. I needn’t worry about a thing, I sensed the Lord speaking to me. The Lord had it under His complete control Therefore, I didn’t need to think poorly of this man, I could entrust him completely to the Lord!

I was excited, and relieved. Now I knew I could trust the Lord for the finances needed to pull off the event, and for His blessing upon it.

And yes, it all went great! In the process, I got to know this minister and found him to be a prince of a man. He was the real deal. Plus, he liked me. He was also very supportive of me and what we were trying to do.

Here’s a cool thing … when the love offerings were counted at the end of the four nights, we found that the proceeds were $10.00 more than all of our expenses combined. The Lord had truly provided, and it didn’t bankrupt the church. I was stoked. Again, clarity (hearing from the Lord) produced confidence… confidence to trust the Lord and step out in His name.

Sad to say, I have not always operated like that. Looking back on my 26 years and 50 weeks in Monterey, I would say that most of what was done was done with the clear direction of the Lord, but in the last few years, I erred in that I failed to wait for the Lord in some key decisions.

Why did I not wait upon God? What was it? Why was it? Was it arrogance? Was it self-sufficiency? Was it assumption on my part? Probably a little bit of all of them. At any rate, I blew it. One major decision gone bad affected another one, until things got so messy that I ended up causing many to become frustrated and hurt, the very people I love and served with.

I had no clarity as I made those decisions, and therefore I had no confidence. One respected pastor I know, after I told him about some of the things that happened over the previous months, said to me, “It sounds to me like you lost your confidence.” Bingo! He hit the nail right on the head. It was so true… I HAD lost my confidence as a leader, as a pastor. That was new for me, because I’d operated in confidence for so many years. After he said that, it then became my quest to discover what happened. How did I lose it? The conclusion the Lord has helped me realize is that I was operating without clarity. I had not heard His voice, because I had not waited for Him.

I have been severely chastened by the Lord for all of this, and I hope I have learned my lesson. I am determined—with the Lord’s help—never to launch out into anything again without clarity which produces confidence. I don’t want to be like Joshua with the Gibeonites, or like Abraham with Hagar. I want to do what the Lord says, nothing more, nothing less. But first, I want to spend the time to determine what that is. No shortcuts.

To that end, the Lord has been kind enough to point me to an amazing passage in 1 Samuel which tells my story. Actually, it’s the story of David, but it fits my situation too.

David had been relentlessly pursued by Saul, who wanted to kill him. Previously, Samuel the prophet had anointed David as king over all Israel, but Saul was still on the throne. The Lord had said that He was going to remove Saul from the kingdom and give it to David. But David was apparently tired and wearied from Saul’s persecution of him. He got discouraged, and he forgot (at least emotionally) the Lord’s promises to him re: the kingdom. So given that as a background, we read David’s words:

And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.” (1 Samuel 27:1)

Notice that David was talking to himself. This is a good thing, if we’re talking truth to ourselves. But in this situation, David’s self talk was inaccurate. No, he would not perish by Saul’s hand. Because his premise was inaccurate, his solution would also be wrong. It was absolutely the wrong thing to escape to the Philistine’s land. He would put himself in a compromised situation. While it seemed logical that this move might discourage Saul from continuing to hunt him down, the way that seems right to us isn’t necessarily right. David had not heard from the Lord at this time, therefore he lost his confidence in the Lord. His lack of clarity brought discouragement.

The story goes on to tell what happened to David. He became affiliated with a Philistine lord named Achish. He lied to Achish about what he was really doing in the land. Achish eventually wanted David to join the Philistines in battle against Israel! Think of it… David attacking Israel. No way! Fortunately, the other Philistine lords (kings) refused to let David and his men fight with them. They thought he might betray them in battle. After all, this was the same David that killed Goliath, their champion.

But while David was passing in review before the Philistines, the Amalekites were destroying the Philistine city (Ziklag) where David, his men, and their wives had been living. When he and his men returned to Ziklag, they found it burned to the ground, and discovered that much spoil AND their wives had been taken away by the Amalekites. The next passage absolutely thrills my heart. It’s what I’ve been doing myself for months now:

1 Samuel 30:6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

Don’t you just love that? David went right to the Lord, and found a way to receive strength from Him! No doubt he did it through prayer, in the Word, and in worship, but he did it! He was in a tight spot; trouble was around him on every side, so he went straight to the Lord. He wouldn’t make the same mistake again. He would wait upon God.

The next thing he did was also telling. He sought the Lord re: the Amalekites and at Yahweh’s direction, he went straight into battle against them. In other words, now that he had clarity (having strengthened himself in the Lord and having consulted Him about attacking the Amalekites), it was time to go to war. Time to fight the enemy. No more sulking, no feeling sorry for himself, no living in the past. It was time to move forward.

The Lord granted David success. He was able, with his four hundred men, to rout the Amalekites and recover everything they’d taken from him.

I can’t tell you how much that entire story speaks to me. God is good! He speaks to us! He gives us marching orders. He frees us from our past. After the discipline is over with, it yields the “peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

Clarity produces confidence. I hope I never forget it.

“Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.” (Psalms 25:4-5)

Thanks for reading.

Bill Holdridge

Romans 8:5-8 – Daniel Fusco @ Calvary North Bay


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Join The Conversation

I’m on the road with my family this week, in fact, sitting in Daniel Fusco’s living room right now, so this is largely undeveloped… for that I repent!

This week highlighted a group called the World Wide Web Foundation that is seeking to answer the question of how many pages are on the internet.  Their article referenced Kevin Kelly, a founder of Wired Magazine, who has written that there are at least a trillion web page.

The advent of the internet has made it possible for an exchange of ideas never before realized by man.  Or perhaps not realized since Babel.  An individual (such as myself) has a potential (vs. actual) audience that is incredibly large.  In times past the cost of reaching such a mass of people with your idea or product was well out of reach to the average person.  Today, if you’re not using the resources available (often freely) online, you’re wasting a great opportunity, and (as a Christian) I think you could make a good case that you’re not being a good steward of the potential.

The WWW Foundation estimates that only 30% of humanity currently has access to the resources of the internet.  We’re quickly reaching a point, through wireless technology, where 90% of humanity will have the ability to access the internet.  Al Gore must be proud that his baby is so revolutionizing the world.

While so many people can potentially access the web, there is still a major hurdle for many developing nations.  Much of the available online content requires the ability to read and write.  Furthermore, anyone interacting in discourse online is confronted with the reality that written discourse can be a difficult animal to tame.  An exchange I was involved in this week has [for me] brought this clearly to the forefront once again.

As I considered this this week I’ve come to the conclusion that there are several things required to play (i.e. discourse) in this sphere of open, mass exchange of ideas.  My list is still developing, perhaps you can help, so far I have four points.

1. Humility

If anything the internet has over and over proven that your/my idea ain’t the only idea on a subject.  Therefore we must come to the table recognizing that our idea is one among a billion, and could very well be invalidated in the fee [two-way]

My dad, whom of course I love and respect greatly, has told me for many years now, “Son, opinions are like %$#-Holes, everybody has one.”  Not the most refined truth, perhaps, but a truth nonetheless… and a good truth to keep in mind when discussing ideas with others.  To demagogue an argument by aggressively forcing your position as the only logical or right view is not helpful, unless you have a watertight, incontestable position.

2. Flexibility

Rigidity is not helpful in discourse.  Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.  Flexibility in discourse is evidenced by an individual’s willingness to argue from your opponents position; to stand in their shoes and consider their position from their point of view.

This honestly takes a humble spirit and a bit of work.  We all come to a discussion with bias; we must recognize that we even have bias and then try to identify what our bias presuppositions and assumptions are.  Like a good juror, we should try to leave our bias at the door and examine the evidence and testimony with as clear a mind as possible.

3. Teachability 

If you’ve truly come to the table with humble flexibility, then you must be willing to expand or change your position if it’s shown to be weak.  A lack of teachability is an immediate check for me when raising up leaders within our church.  A disciple is a learner, they must be teachable.  Wisdom that is from above is peaceable and open to reason (James 3:17).

4. Humanity

Two quick things under this heading.

First, you’ve got to come to a discourse with at least a little humor.  One of my biggest weaknesses in online discourse is that I have a terribly dry sense of humor, which can easily come across harsh or condescendingly in written form.  Knowing this about myself I try to assume this about others when they come across harsh or condescending.  Love hopes all things, and I try to see the best in an individual.

Secondly, agreeing to disagree is sometimes a must.  We must make allowances for disagreement.


* * * * * Post comment additions… * * * * *

Since there have been some good commented thoughts, I thought it right to add a few more points.

5. Sincerity

6. Integrity

7. Reality

We may have to develop how these things workout… but hey, they’re all “ity” words.

Ideas on Doing Outreach – Daniel Fusco

The critical mistake that many church planters make is that they think that God’s calling on their lives equals a ‘successful’ plant. Planters think that since God is calling them to an area that they will simply show up, put up a sign, and people will flock into the building because they are ready to teach the Bible. Oftentimes people get the false impression that if you simply teach the Word, people will flock into a new church. This may be true if you are planting a church in the middle of a full on revival, but in reality, in 2009, there aren’t too many place in the United States that are in the middle of a full on revival. Effective church planters need to do outreach to meet people so that they can come to the building to hear that Word of God. This was brought into focus for me when I was speaking to one of the older pastors in the Calvary Chapel movement. This pastor was there in the beginning of the Jesus Movement. He told me that not only was the Pastor Chuck Smith’s teaching anointed, but there was also a ton of outreach going on. There were concerts and Christian communes. There were outreach studies going on in schools, homes, and by the side of the road. Greg Laurie was inventing new cartoon tracks and they were being handed out. Teaching tapes were being given out. There were people, outside of the church building, meeting people with the intention of communicating the Gospel to them. A successful church plant is one that is reaching out to their community. When the people who are reached come to the church, then they will get the opportunity to hear God’s inspired Word.

In one of Mark Driscoll’s books, he gives a great and simple insight into casting vision for outreach. He asked three simple questions: Who are you reaching out with? Who are you reaching out to? And how are you reaching out? Feel free to read that article to see the finer points of these questions. But to begin our discussion, these questions are important. Who are you reaching out with? Is it just you? Do you have a small team? A large group? The answer to this question will affect the scope of our outreach. Who are you reaching out to? Depending on whom we are trying to reach, this will color the style of outreach. In the Jesus Movement, Christian concerts worked well, but might not in every context. This speaks to the need for cultural exegesis and understanding our target communities. This is where statistics and demographics can be incredibly helpful. Do we love the community that we are called to as Jesus does in such a way as to understand them? Finally, how are you reaching out? This is the culmination of the first two questions. When we understand who we are reaching out with and who we are reaching out to, then we can formulate an action plan as to how we are going to reach out. It is this third section that I want to spend some time on.

Have A Plan

It is simply wisdom to have a goal and that can be executed. If we have a plan and set some goals, we will have a better chance of accomplishing anything. So I always recommend that church planters come up with a plan, no matter how basic it may be. Set some goals and work towards their fulfillment.

Don’t be Seeker Sensitive, Be Seeker Sensible

I don’t know who coined this pithy phrase, but I like it. We need to be sensible to the people that we are trying to reach and the message that we are giving out. This is important because oftentimes our outreach ideas are not relevant to the people we are trying to reach. We have a tendency to import an outreach strategy that we saw used in another context. We need to be sensible. There is nothing worse then investing time and energy into something that isn’t sensible.

The Gospel is Free; But Getting It Out is NOT Cheap

We need to spend money on outreach. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it isn’t. It seems that oftentimes we would rather spend our money on anything else other than reaching people for the Gospel. We would rather spend money on the building a church (building) than building the church (community). Are we more concerned with getting ourselves a salary our reaching our community? Getting the Gospel out in our community will cost money and we should be prepared for this. It is money well spent (as long as we are mindful of who we are trying to reach).

It’s The Slow Drip That Works

What I mean by this is simply that it’s the cumulative effect of all the outreach attempts that work. We are apt to judge the effectiveness of an outreach based on immediate fruit. But in a church plant, it is the entire breadth of outreach that will have the effect. A continued outreach initiative, over time, will be effective. So have a broad view of it. Think about it, how many times have you heard about something before you try it? Like a restaurant? Oftentimes you’ll see an advertisement or two, maybe a billboard, then you’ll hear of a few people who went there and then you’ll try it. Churches are the same way. After someone gets used to seeing your name, if they know someone who likes it, often they will try it.

Put Your Name and Logo On Everything

This is the simplest outreach style. I call it ‘passive outreach’. To simply get name recognition, you want to put your logo, name, and website on everything: handbills, t-shirts, pens, everything. If you put your branding on everything, eventually people will notice you. As a Calvary Chapel pastor, if I am driving through a town and I see a dove, I instantly know what that means. There is recognition of the name and symbol. In our towns, if no one ever heard of us, there is a good chance that they are not stopping by for a visit.

Maintain A Good Website (and keep your name in the Yellow Pages)

In the technologically obsessed United States, it is criminal not to have a strong web presence. We are really shooting ourselves in the foot if we are not all over the web. Simply google your community and see what comes up. Put your name everywhere. On every community website that you can. The internet is here to stay and we want to be a part of it. People still use the Yellow Pages as well. Make sure your name is in the Yellow Pages. Also, don’t forget that you can negotiate with the Yellow Pages salesman. That we have in the Yellow Pages was being offered at $120 per month and we settled on $30 per month. That’s an extra $90 for other outreach ideas.

Train The Congregation in Community Engagement

Jesus’ outreach style was to train up twelve apostles. Jesus knew that having thirteen points of contact (Himself plus the twelve) would be more effective than it just being Himself. As we are teaching the people the Word, we need to be constantly raising up people who are effective witnesses on their jobs, while at school, as they recreate and the like. I am constantly downloading outreach sensibilities to the congregation as we walk through the Scriptures together.

Finally, The Church Will Be Passionate About What The Pastor Is Passionate About

Brothers, if we are not passionate about the lost, neither will the folks in our fellowship be. Just as Jesus reproduced Himself spiritually in His disciples, so will we. If our hearts do not burn for the lost, then we will never inspire them to care enough to share. Brothers, do we have a passion for the souls of men? Is it a passion that will drive us out of the safety of our offices and studies and into the places where people congregate to them won for Christ? A church planter without an outreach passion is not a church planter.

Biblical Meditation and Spiritual Blessing


Psalm 1: 1-2 “(1) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; (2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

Spurgeon Insight: “He delights to be in it (the Law) as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it, to read it by day and think upon it by night.”[1

Two Sources of Influence

This Psalm is about two different types of counsel by which a person can live, and the practical results a person can experience from following one or the other.  On the one hand the Psalm warns against living life by the counsel of the ungodly, those who don’t live by God’s wisdom and have a right relationship with Him.  On the other hand the Psalm graphically describes the blessed life a person will enjoy if they turn to God’s law for counsel which is found in God’s Word, the Bible.

The Subtle Key to Blessing

I have often read this Psalm and took encouragement from it to keep studying the Bible as my guide in life decisions.  Reading it over today it stands out to me that being blessed through God’s Word involves a lot more than studying the Bible.  The Psalmist doesn’t say that the person who merely reads or studies the Bible will be blessed.  He says that it is the person who “delight(s)” and “meditates” on the Law of the LORD who will be blessed.  Delighting in God’s Word speaks of taking pleasure in it.  Meditating on God’s Word isn’t just reading it, but chewing on it mentally, and I believe, praying over what is found in God’s Word.

Delight = Spiritual Nourishment

So the big application for me is not to stop short with mere Bible reading and expect to be transformed by the Word.  I must delight in God’s Word and meditate on God’s Word.  Only then will I be the blessed and transformed person glorifying God that this Psalm describes.  The ability to do either of these things will take the grace and enabling of the Holy Spirit.  Pray with me…

Lord, we pray right now that you would increase delight for your word inside our spirits.  Increase our capacity to enjoy it through meditation.  Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak.  By Your grace and Spirit accomplish these things in us so we can live the transformed and blessed life You desire to produce in, and through us.

[1] Spurgeon. Charles. The Crossway Classic Commentaries. Psalms. Page 2.

Note- The above post is taken from “Lift: a Devotional Journey through Selected Psalms” By Kellen Criswell

The Balancing Act

“So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.”

Nehemiah 4:16

This is by no means exhaustive or complete…just thinking some things through…

There is no doubt that the “work” we are involved in as the Body of Christ is vast and extensive from our point of view. As we look at the “walls” that lie in disrepair and comprehend that its “breaches are many” (Isaiah 22:9), we begin to understand the scope of all that has been done, and begin to understand the reach that still has to be accomplished in our own communities, to the ends of the globe.

What greater thing is there than pouring our very lives that have been redeemed from the slimy pit and have now been washed clean, purged from the stains of our guilty consciences and shot-out lives, into the great and eternal “work” that we have been called to and given gifts by His Spirit which enable us to engage ourselves in this work effectively and profitably for the renown of Jesus’ name.

There are those that each of us know and love and care for that are fighting and laboring and toiling, expending spiritual and physical blood, sweat, and tears in this “work”. They are the ones that fill the seats on Sunday, falling asleep, nodding off during our sermons, not making it to the discipleship classes, the home fellowship or mid-week study all the time, “‘cuz their just plumb wore out”. And unfortunately, we sometimes question their dedication to the work because of these realities. These are the ones who are directly involved in the “front lines” work of the ministry. We sometimes fall into the mindset that “We are the ones on the front lines, that I am the one forging ahead into the vast hordes of the unchurched and unbelieving. “I alone am left, Lord!” (and not wrongly so, in all instances).

But here in Nehemiah 4:16 we see the position of the leaders in the “impossible” work in Jerusalem…namely repairing the breaches, rebuilding the wall. The leaders are positioned squarely behind the “frontline”. Yes, they are also directly involved in the work themselves, fighting, laboring and toiling alongside. But they are also functioning “behind the scenes”, watching, directing, re-directing, encouraging, equipping, etc.

With this picture in mind, one thought stands out. There is the necessity that we must teach, by our lives and by our words, that in the work of the Lord and in the service of the Lord, in desiring to accomplish the task that is before us, there is a needed balance, with which we will be able to be most effective in our watching and in our working.

We, as your pastors, have been separated from “waiting on tables”, so to speak, and strive to be constant in our giving of ourselves, our entire lives, to the ministry of the word and to prayer. Our desire, our goal, our calling, if you will, is to excel in being the leaders that God has gifted us to be so that you might be the best equipped, as you each are laboring and toiling on the front lines, rebuilding the walls.

Ephesians 4:11-16

The Biggest Peer Group

Pastors and church leaders make many valid efforts to promote church unity.  In any city, there is the church universal.  Each of our particular churches is a sub culture of the City Church, and then within each church, there are sub-sub cultures, such as youth groups, 50’s plus groups, college groups, etc.

We are conscious to understand each sub-sub culture, to speak on their terms, and be sensitive to their world.  We seek to promote activities that appeal to those sub-sub cultures, and to bring age appropriate blessings to them.

These efforts are good efforts, in that they reach into people’s worlds.  We meet them where they are at.  We become “all things to all men that we might save (and bless) some”.

Human nature is such that we love our peer groups.  Birds of a feather flock together.  We all have that tendency.  Like attracts like. Little or no effort is needed to mingle with people like ourselves.  It is an unconscious human response to seek out peers that understand us, accept us, and approve of us.  And so, sub-sub cultures exist within our church.

While recognizing and ministering to sub-sub cultures in our church has its benefits, it can also create problems regarding church unity.  The blessing of attending church can revolve around easily fitting into our sub-sub culture peer group.  There is almost if not actual immediate gratification in peer groups.  Social and cultural mores are understood, and have been previously navigated.  People enter into sub-sub cultures, and though the balance of things changes at times, lesser adjustments can be quickly made.

Most people that I know have little time to expand their circle of friends, much less try to break into a different sub-sub culture.  The thought of learning another social language, another culture, etc., is not only not natural, but troublesome and too challenging for most people.

Yet this is what must happen if our churches are going to continue past one generation, and if they are going to be trans-generational.  Younger people need to learn from older people, and older people need to realize their responsibility to raise up the next generation.

The Apostle Paul teaches that in Christ, we are created as “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15).  There is a new culture called “Christian”.  There is a new man called “Christian”.  There is a new peer group called “Christian”.

If a man or woman or teen can see that the greatest oneness they have is not the cultural “sameness” of  this present fleeting moment, but the eternal oneness of being one in Jesus, then suddenly that person’s “peer group” is no longer a sub-sub culture, but has grown to include the entire Body of Christ.

If a person can capture the idea that they have settled for the ease of living in a sub-sub culture peer group, but have missed the greater blessing of knowing the entire church, they just might be motivated enough to push past present cultural trends, and actually try to understand another Christian from a different sub-sub culture.

We all understand that the best evangelist for a teen is another teen.  Kids come to church because their friends convince them to. Like attracts like.

I submit that if a pastor can convince a few teens that their peer group is the entire church, and not just the youth group, that those kids will begin to reach out to older people in the church.  They will convince their friends to go with them as they do it.  The same is true for every sub-sub culture peer group.  All you need is one or two people from a sub-sub culture to break out and be convinced that their true peer group is actually the entire church.

Therefore, whereas understanding and reaching into sub-sub groups can be effective, and ought to be done, I suggest that we never sacrifice the unity of trans-generational fellowship for the sake of reaching out to a slice of society.  Both are needed.  We may reach people by focusing on a sub-sub culture, but we need to help them mature into seeing the entire Body of Christ as their peer group.  Trans-generational love and nurturing must occur.  Kids need to know that the old people want them, not that they simply hire a youth leader to reach them.  Old people need to know that young people genuinely respect them for their accomplishments, and are willing to sit and listen to them.

Cultural awareness is important, but love always finds a way to navigate through cultural waters, and reach a kid, a single mom, or an elderly person.  Cultural relevance is a tool of understanding, but love is the heart of the matter.  Oneness in Christ is the banner that every Christian needs to ultimately see as the glue that not only builds the church, but holds it together, and pushes it forward into the future.

Romans 8:1-4 @ Calvary North Bay – Daniel Fusco


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