...those involved in the conversation acknowledge that Christianity involves a process of journeying and becoming. There is a shared understanding that being a Christian always involves becoming a Christian...faith embraces journey as a type of destination.
This speaks to me of our modern obsession with convincing people to:
close the deal
pray the prayer
cross the line
make a decision...
We put great emphasis on getting people to take an action that changes their status from lost to saved, non-Christian to Christian, condemned to forgiven, pagan to believer...but we are rarely as concerned with the journey.
I'm all for helping people choose to follow Jesus (it is part of my job!) But the challenging part, and I think the crucial part, is encouraging people on the journey they began by choosing Jesus. The decision or prayer is only the first step. It's really the easiest step. The journey that follows is incredible, frustrating, joyful, painful, frightening, mysterious, and adventurous.
Along similar lines, found this great article, "Jesus and the Sinner's Prayer" in Christianity Today by David Gushee. Got me thinking about Jesus' teaching when it comes to following Him; and how it's often different than the answers we give. He rarely gives the same answer twice; yet we have tried to come up with simple universal answers of what it means to follow him--the four spiritual laws, sinners prayer, etc.
If Jesus is to be believed, inheriting eternal life involves a comprehensive divine assessment at every step along our journey, not just at its inception.I want to be a pastor who, first of all, takes my journey seriously--constantly seeking and learning and interacting with Jesus; and second, is available to help others on that journey, not as a teacher, but as an encourager and fellow traveler.