If you’re feeling a little push-back about doing Taking Root this Lent, it might help to know that’s normal. I realize that getting 100% participation just because your leaders ask for it is kind of… un-American.
Having run Taking Root several times before, I’ve learned to appreciate that many of us go through three stages before we get excited about something that requires effort:
Stage 1: Permission. “Sure, It’s a good idea.” (for those other people)
Stage 2: Acceptance. “Oh you mean me? (thud). Well, uh, OK.” (Grrrr).
Stage 3: Enthusiasm. “Hmm. This actually looks good.”
When it comes to growth, mixed feelings are normal. The test isn’t whether you have mixed feelings (remember Moses at the burning bush?) but what you do with them. So let me answer a few honest questions about why you should sign on to this thing.
Because you’re fighting for your life
Something that scares the heck out of me as a pastor is what Jesus says in Matthew 7:13: Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. I’ve seen so many church-attenders lose their hope and their fire because life gradually wore them down. Illness… disappointment… self-pity… guilt… betrayal… depression… they’re real enemies. They can turn you from God. Happens every day. Conversely, I’ve seen others who go from strength to strength and glory to glory. They take the hits but get back up shouting a battle cry. They expect to have to fight for their lives. They also realize something key: their best life is still ahead, so they strain forward with all the energy Christ so powerfully inspires in me (Col. 1:29).
Because you need Christian community
And it doesn’t happen just by coming to Sunday service. We must do life together and risk being a little open about our triumphs and challenges. I mean, wouldn’t you rather belong to a community where people were so excited about being together the actually ran into the church building? That actually happens.
Do I have to have a mentor?
No. If it feels too awkward or imposed, then no. But it can also feel good to have the chance to share with an appreciative listener what God is doing in your soul. Besides, it’s only three short meetings, and to a large degree you set the agenda.
I’m busy, (or) I’m not free when the groups are meeting.
I know there are seasons when that’s valid. You can still do the workbook on your own. But there are also times when “busy” is just an excuse. It’s up to you to decide that, but remember it’s God you’re dealing with – and he’s hard to fool. It might be that “busy” means “I feel unsure of myself in groups” or “I’m not doing well with God right now” or something equally challenging. But there are ways through these things. Talk to me.
I’m in a really good series on Netflix and can’t tear myself away.
(Sigh). I’ve already addressed that above under “fighting for your life”. No one can choose life for you – that’s you’re job.