Xperience X-Zone

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Get Real!

I really don’t have time to be writing this today, BUT…., I’ve just got to put this on. By the way I will try and get to Slidel the Elvis impersonator mechanic later next week. But for day here’s what I’ve got to get off my chest. I have this friend named Jeff. Jeff is my brother’s Pastor. His church is one of the up and coming innovative churches in Arkansas. I don’t mean they have Green Day sounding worship services or artist painting pictures of Jesus while Jeff ponders the deeper issues of the Bible, or black lights, and candles, crosses and pillows on the floor. I mean they are innovative in the sense that they have totally rethought church and what it is all about. They are what I think a true New Testament church would have been like. Founded on building true caring relationships with one another and serving and loving others outside their body. I say all this to give you a picture of what Jeff and his church are like

What made me write this, even when I REALLY don’t have time to be posting today is this. I was reading a post on Jeff’s blog yesterday (He is one of my links to the right if you want to read for yourself.) But he was talking about a passage in Nehemiah and how he’d been discouraged with the results in his church and his own life recently. Jeff was talking about how he’d been feeling about himself and his church before reading this passage in Nehemiah. He said he had been thinking, “They're not doing enough - not inviting people, not eager for people to be impacted by Jesus. I'm not doing enough, I think. I'm lazy, worthless, and uncommitted to what I teach...” Man, that is transparent. I’m always talking about being transparent. But so many times transparent to me is to say to some one “I suck.” That’s kind of obvious; the Bible says that, in fact it says we all suck. (Rom. 3:23) But, what Jeff often does on his blog is he says things that I feel about my own ministry and my own walk with God but I’m afraid to open up and share with other people. Real things. Things like maybe the problem is I’m just lazy, maybe I’m not ever going to see “success” in all of this.

I was talking with someone the other day and they were asking me about how the ministry was going here at our church, were people growing spiritually? If I could have mustered some Jeff transparency I think I would not had answered the way I did. I gave a pad “spiritual” answer. What I would like to have said is this. You know it is not going that great. There are some things happening in people’s lives on Saturday night but in 7 months we have not had one genuine conversion. The youth group here is growing in number but I feel like for the most part I’ve not helped any of them build a strong spiritual foundation that will impact others and their future. The one that have that have got it more on their own than form any thing I’ve done to help them grow. I wanted to say, truthfully I believe there is so much potential for God to do something great in this church but I’m just not the guy He can use to do it. I’m not spiritual enough, I’m not genuine enough, and I’m sure as heck not committed enough.

Well, what I really wanted to get out there to you guys today was how much it means for me to have friends like Jeff, and like David Yates (a church planter in Wynne), that will TRULY open up and say what is going on in their lives. So Jeff if you see this thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so real, you have no idea how it helps me at times. And to the rest of you, when are we going to pull off these masks and really get to know one another? When are we truly going to GET REAL? I’m sick of thinking I’m the only one like me. In fact I’m starting to think I’m just like the rest of you, in need of grace, mercy, and forgiveness daily and so dependent on God to do anything of lasting significance at all. WHHEWWW… I feel better. Have a good weekend. By the way come to Xperience (Perfect Flaw) will be with us leading worship. It will be AWESOME!!! And that is the genuine truth.


  • I also try to model vulnerability and transparency with my youth staff and the people around me as I encourage them to do the same. However, I would argue that, as spiritual leaders, there's a limit of how much we share.

    For example, several months ago I had to dismiss one of my jr. high guy workers because he went into a detailed confession on his blog about his porn addiction. We had talked about it before and he was making progress, but when all the female youth workers read it and the potential was there for students to read it (which none had, thank God), it had to be dealt with immediately. Some of the things he wrote about concerning porn were things I had never even heard of before! Because of the impact it had on the other youth workers and the depth of his addiction, he's taking a year off from youth ministry to focus on this area of his life.

    Another example is when a female youth leader of mine starts sharing her maritial problems with her small group. The students know her husband and like him very muchm, plus these kids are not counselors, nor are they emotionally developed enough to handle information like this.

    So, all that to say, vulnerability is good, but some things must be kept in strict confidence with other close mature Christian friends.

    By Anonymous Tim, at 11:51 AM  

  • jim,

    wow. i say i'm scum and you make me sound like a superstar... i like it... i'm scum, scum, scum, bad, bad, bad... my breath stinks, and i like to pick my nose...

    seriously though, thank you for your kind comments. you're an awesome encourager!

    and tim, i agree with your point. it's important to balance between the two extremes of being a "super minister" that never lets his guard down or shares his life when his flock or of being more hurtful than helpful in your transparency.

    erwin mcmanus has some incredible things to say about "authenticity" in his book "Uprising." i think it's in chapter 3 or so...

    By Blogger Jeff Noble, at 8:12 PM  

  • Yeah Tim, like your porn addiction. Lord forbid that you admit to young people or especially people who "work" with young people that you have an addiction to porn and that it is a very destructive force in your life. Let's wait until they all have their own porn addictions and are "mature christians" before we discuss it. Hi, my name is Matt ... I suck ... and I often say things in haste that are offensive ... but I am transparent about my desire to lash out at lunacy.


    By Anonymous Matt, at 5:31 PM  

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