Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gone Fishing

I know, I know, it's been a while since I've posted, and some of you have been asking what's going on. We've been out fishing. It's not that I haven't had the time to report on the details. Oh sure, I'm busy like the rest of you, but I do limit my schedule to a manageable pace and can't really use that as an excuse. It's also not that we haven't had anything to report. The things we are experiencing here have me bursting at the seams to share over a cup of coffee with anyone who will listen. The problem is, the Internet is not a cup of coffee, and sharing the intimate details of a person's life on a blog doesn't seem like a good idea, especially if those people are your friends.

You see, if we were ministers at a mainstream church, like we have been in the past, we might report something like attendance numbers and event schedules. Instead, when we're reporting on a small house church, the details are too personal to share. You may not know who we're talking about but our members do and they also read this blog--an issue we didn't face to the same degree doing mission work in Brazil. Suffice it to say that we meet with these people, not only on a weekly basis, but often on a daily basis. Our goal is to teach and disciple them into a deeper relationship with each other and ultimately with Jesus. We are seeing stronger marriages, better relationships with kids, and even healthier lifestyles. We celebrate together, grieve with each other, and often just hang out with one another. This is the family that God intended his church to be.

Now that you're beginning to see my dilemma, I will assure you that the reporting doesn't end here. In fact, you may be in for some more regular communication if we can come up with a new approach. I say "we" because I need your help. Feedback from you is going to help me not only deliver information that you find interesting, but it will also keep us encouraged--a commodity that is scarce to people who do what we do for a living, endeavor to introduce Jesus to a largely narcissistic society. We do thank those of you who comment in person or through e-mail. We would appreciate all of you getting involved in the discussion on some level.

We're not much on reporting numbers, as relationships are hard to quantify, but there is one number I would like to report. It's fifty, and it's where I lost count when I tried to remember the individuals we have invested in over the past two years. We don't knock on doors and we don't pass out flyers, so it takes some time to actually get to know a person well enough to share the gospel with or at least to invite into a discussion/study of the gospel. This stint of our missionary journeys has me wondering if there's been a study done on this sort of thing. I mean, our experience has shown that four out of fifty people in south Florida who are invited to hear the gospel actually listen and respond by following Jesus.

Don't worry, as discouraging as these statistics are, we don't plan to give up. We're looking for the next fifty and we're not going to forget the forty-seven who have said no. Sure, there's something to shaking the dust off your feet and moving on as Jesus told his disciples to do, but we're not burning any bridges. We care about these people and hope they one day take an interest in a relationship with God and in living the life they were created to live. It wasn't that long ago--about sixteen years--that we were in the dark about the meaning of life, muddling through, trying to make our own way. We thought Christians were stupid, crazy people recruiting for a cult. Knowing what we know now, we're willing to look like stupid, crazy cult members in order to offer the treasure we know as Jesus to anyone who has ears to hear and a heart to accept.

Lately, we've been evaluating our effectiveness. Could we catch more fish if we moved to another pond or used a different fishing rod? We're not too keen on moving... again. And we don't necessarily feel like we need to... yet. So we're switching to a different rod. I'll tell you more about that in my next post.


  1. Love this post and totally get it. We are also changing to a different rod. Wouldn't it be weird if it were the same thing?? Anyhoo, we are here in the states until Jan. 20th, so maybe we could visit, at least by phone?? We love you guys!

  2. Slow down on worrying about results if you see Jesus changing lives.

  3. Thank you for sharing what you have been up to. We pray for effectiveness in your relationship and discipleship growing. God bless you guys!

  4. So proud of all the good work you are doing. I love getting your blogs if for nothing else, to see pictures of the boys as they grow. I also love your stories about your backyard children's ministry and how God is moving in the lives of your families. It also helps me know how to pray for you specifically rather than a general prayer for you and your ministry. See keep it coming.