Tag Archive | Church

Skin in the Game: Evangelists

This week we’ve been looking at how the concept of skin in the game applies to the church.

Today, I want to look at how evangelists can have skin in the game.

For those of you who only think of loud preachers on television asking for money when you hear the word “evangelist,” let’s start with a definition. Evangelists are people who share the good news of Jesus with others with ease. Every Christian is called to be a witness to the greatness of Jesus. But not every Christian is called to be an evangelist. Evangelists are specially gifted to help people understand the Gospel and help other believers in the body of Christ share the Gospel. Most evangelists never get on camera or in front of a large crowd. Most quietly do their work of sharing the good news about Jesus in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces while helping the churches they are in get better at it as well.

While Evangelists love sharing the Gospel with lost people, they can have a tough time having skin in the game depending on their maturity level. Often evangelists are so at home with lost people that they are uncomfortable within the church. Church politics and religious veneers can frustrate evangelists who rightly understand that our emphasis should be on the good news of Jesus and getting it to the lost. Evangelists also sometimes struggle with discipling those that they lead to Jesus. Short conversations about the Gospel are easy for them. The long slog of helping a newly converted individual learn to follow Jesus over years of time is a lot harder for many evangelists.

So how do evangelists develop skin in the game?

The first thing evangelists should do is recognize that they need to be a meaningful part of the church. Even evangelists with traveling ministries should have long term relationships that function as church for them. The body is designed to need input from others with different gifts from ourselves. Evangelists are no exception.

But there’s another reason evangelists need to be involved with the church. The church needs them. As frustrating as the church can be at times, we need evangelists to pull us back to our call to be witnesses to the greatness of Jesus. This can be a frustrating process, but a mature evangelist knows they have much that benefits the church and will stay engaged in a church, not just for themselves, but for the good of the church. Remember, Paul tells us God gave us “evanglists…to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Lastly, evangelists can have skin in the game by making disciples. One of the critical problems with evangelism is the lack of discipleship that often happens after a person has come to faith. Evangelists, as the people who have won someone to Christ, are natural candidates for discipling the new believers they have led to Christ. Some of these converts will naturally imitate their evangelistic mentors and become evangelists themselves. Others won’t and will struggle, and this is where a good partnership with pastors and teachers will help an evangelist struggling with discipleship. Regardless, it does us no good to lead someone in a prayer to receive Christ but not teach them how to follow Him. Remember, our commission is to make disciples, not converts.

Evangelists need the church. The church needs evangelists. But the greatest truth is that lost humanity needs evangelists with skin in the game.

Photo Credit: Baptismal Pool Prayer by Kaleb Tapp

Don’t Forget:

My new book, “Stick Your Neck Out” was just released. If you’re looking for a short introduction to house churches for yourself or others, this 71 page book will help you or someone you know move from interested to invested in planting churches in the harvest. Get your Kindle or paperback version here.

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Skin in the Game: Church

This week we’ve been focusing on the concept of “Skin in the Game.”

Today I think it’s important to stop and look at an area where every single Christian should have skin in the game: the church.

The Scripture is really clear on this. It is critically important for the Christian life for believers to gather together with other believers (See Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 Corinthians 12:20-25) for encouragement, strengthening, and care.

This shouldn’t be revolutionary, but in today’s society we have plenty of believers who think they are doing just fine without being part of a church. There are “nones” and “dones” who believe they can believe in Jesus but never have to interact with a specific group of believers on a regular basis. This flies in the face of Scripture that calls us to live closely enough to each other (believers in Jesus) that we can practice the “one anothers” with them regularly (see The 59 One Anothers of the Bible).

Now, I am the last person to tell you that you need to show up at 10:00 AM on Sunday morning to a building where songs are sung and a speech is given. I gather in my living room with other believers, sometimes with no real plan for what we’ll do when we gather together. But I know the people who are part of my church. They know me. We have access to each other’s lives and we gather together to strengthen each other.

To be fair, this doesn’t always happen in the lives of people who are part of traditional churches, either. While I know many wonderful people who are part of traditional churches who are meaningfully connected to other believers, I also know many who go to sing and hear someone speak. Their Christian experience is an hour on Sunday, instead of a meaningful connection with real believers.

So, my encouragement to you today is to be a part of a local body of believers. Don’t tune into a church half-way across the nation that doesn’t know you. Don’t sit around and wait for the perfect church (or even the church that isn’t perfect but checks all of your boxes). Go and be a part of some type of gathering where other believers gather and imperfectly attempt to encourage and strengthen each other. If you don’t have one of those near you, you should start one.

Lastly, don’t just go. Be a part of the church. Have skin in the game. You know you’re doing it right when you hurt when the people that are part of your church are hurt. You know you’re doing it right when you consider it your job to make disciples, not just the pastor or the pastoral staff. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you’ve stopped picking and choosing who you want to be your “church” and let God give you a love for the people in your spiritual family. You’ll know you’re doing it right when the health and the vitality of your church is your responsibility, not someone else’s.

When it comes to church, it’s critical you have skin in the game.

Photo Credit: Two Men Hugging on Focus Photo by Erika Giraud

Don’t Forget:

My new book, “Stick Your Neck Out” was just released. If you’re looking for a short introduction to house churches for yourself or others, this 71 page book will help you or someone you know move from interested to invested in planting churches in the harvest. Get your Kindle or paperback version here.

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Skin in the Game: Prophecy

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of skin in the game when it comes to God’s Kingdom.

There are so many places where this impacts the church, but today, let’s talk about prophecy.

Prophets and prophetic people tend to live in the heavenly realms. We use derogatory terms for that like “they have their head in the clouds” but the reality is prophetic people see things the rest of us don’t, focus on things the rest of us don’t, and that is the gift they bring to the body.

As you can imagine, though, this tendency leads them to have less skin in the game.

Once, I had a prophetic friend who prophesied regularly. Then, after prophesying about a number of things, it became clear that there were several wrong predictions he made. When I talked about the prophesies with my friend, he shrugged, and said “that happens sometimes.” It was here I had to share this concept of skin in the game. Prophetic individuals can’t be spiritual weathermen, predicting the future but knowing that some of the stuff just won’t happen and that’s “part of the deal.”

Instead, mature prophetic ministry is invested in the outcomes of their prophecies. They work to see God’s will come about. They pray. They rebuke. They correct. When it turns out they are wrong, they repent and seek to understand where they missed God’s voice. They are vested in the outcome of their prophecies, whether good or bad.

Much could be written about this and it could become its own separate series. For the sake of time, if you’re a prophetic person, here are some legitimate suggestions about how to have skin in the game when you prophesy:

  • Keep a prophetic journal where you record what the Lord is speaking to you and what you think it means.
  • Develop sound relational accountability with other believers in the body. For more, see my post here.
  • Learn scripture at a deep level. Even learn to have a taste for theology.
  • Be a regular part of a healthy church.
  • Develop deep relational commitment with other gifted people in the body: shepherds, elders, and apostles. These people help translate true “words” into reality.
  • Be open to correction about your prophetic words and understand you only “see in part.”

The most powerful uses of the prophetic I’ve seen are instances where relationaly connected prophets can work within the body of Christ for the good of the body. Prophets who learn to have skin in the game not only have greater impact, but they also grow in their understanding of the Lord.

Photo Credit: Prophet Elijah and scenes from his life [detail]. Painted by Theodore Poulakis, Corfu. 2nd half of 17th cent., Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athens by Dimitris Kamaras

Don’t Forget:

My new book, “Stick Your Neck Out” was just released. If you’re looking for a short introduction to house churches for yourself or others, this 71 page book will help you or someone you know move from interested to invested in planting churches in the harvest. Get your Kindle or paperback version here.

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