I gave up on juggling. I don’t know about you, but it just didn’t seem to work. I could do the whole two ball thing but when you added the third, I was lost. It seemed like my mind just couldn’t put it all together. How do you keep it all moving at one time and not get lost in tracking that other ball?? So, I gave up. Why? Because I kept failing. And guess what? I still don’t know how to juggle, and I never will unless I’m willing to risk failing.
Have you noticed that kids are different today than when you grew up? I just had the opportunity to sit down with a bunch of high school juniors and seniors. I was invited to talk with these students about what it means to be a leader. Through the course of the conversation, we came to the topic of what they want to do after they finish their education. Almost every one of them said they would like to travel. When I was growing up, when I said I wanted to travel, it meant I wanted to go to Florida for vacation. To be honest, California was about the most exotic place on my radar. I mean, that was like a whole different world! But these students were not talking about heading over to California. They were talking about literally traveling the world. They wanted to go to places like Ireland, Australia, Great Britain and India. It blows my mind. I didn’t leave the country until I was almost 40 years old, and these students will probably have visited more countries by the time they are twenty-five than I will in my entire life. Is that bad? No, just different.
With our world changing so incredibly, the way we reach our kids with the good news of Jesus’ loving truth is going to look a lot differently than it did for us. In fact, what it took for Jesus to reach you probably looked a lot different than what it looked like for Jesus to reach me. I was listening to a great sermon by Chris Brown, one of the teaching pastors at North Coast Church in California, and he had a great insight on a passage from the Bible that I had read and used to teach so many times. But I had missed something so incredible. Here’s the passage:
Matthew 4:18-20, 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
So here’s the insight. If Jesus walked up to you today, would He invite you to be a “fisher of men”? You might be tempted to say, “Yes.” But the answer would be “No.” Why do I say that? Because Jesus wasn’t talking to people who live in Southeast Wisconsin when He shared His vision of Simon and Andrew becoming fishers of men. He was talking to fishermen who fished for a living. Jesus spoke to them in the language that made sense to them. He reached them right where they were at. If Jesus were speaking to us today, He wouldn’t be wearing a robe with sandals. He’d probably be wearing a pair of jeans! Jesus adjusted His approach to the people He was speaking to. He was amazing at speaking to people exactly how they needed to hear Him. It doesn’t hurt that He knows everything! We don’t have that advantage, but we also don’t have any excuse to not try. We are commanded to go into the world and make disciples. If we are going to do that, we are going to have to speak the language of the people we are trying to reach.
We are not always going to get that right. In fact, we are going to mess it up pretty badly many times. But we cannot give up because if we give up trying to reach people for Jesus, we give up on the people Jesus’ loves. We have to try, to attempt and, yes, to fail in order to succeed. We don’t just fail to fail. We fail to learn how to better succeed at helping people find Jesus. And since our world is constantly, continually changing, we have to be constantly, continually taking risks to learn how to bring Jesus’ way, truth, life and love to people. That’s why one of our Guiding Principles is:
We Value Risk: Our passion to succeed far outweighs our fear of failure.
Our passion to fulfill God’s command for us to make disciples must always outweigh our fear of failing in the attempt. We must become A Place where Everyone can Experience the Love of Jesus, Find Life-giving Relationships and Fulfill their God-given purpose.
P.S. I just ordered a set of juggling balls, and I’m not giving up until I figure out this whole juggling thing!