9.24.2011

Missionary Positions: How a Barista does it.

Today's contribution to Missionary Positions comes from Bruce Collins, who (in my opinion) has the best avatar on Twitter.

No formulas here.

Sharing Jesus isn’t always easy. Other times it’s just plain hard. When you’re a pastor, though, it’s all in a day’s work; especially on Sundays (sometimes twice). Pastors talk about Jesus all the time. In fact – and I don’t want to speak for all pastors – it all becomes a little trite after a while. The clich├ęd christianese rolls off one’s tongue much like ice-cream off a cone on a hot summer day at the beach. It becomes too easy because it’s what pastors are paid to do. I’m not saying pastors don’t love Jesus, nor am I saying that every pastor you meet is that pastor: the one for whom sharing Jesus has become a day job. What I am saying is that it can so easily happen.

I used to be a pastor.

“Familiarity breeds contempt”, they say. In this case, maybe it’s more like complacency. When sharing Jesus is an everyday vocational hazard, the danger is that it becomes hackneyed. One settles for mediocrity. The awe of Jesus and his story of redemption are lost.
How sad is that? A called and anointed minister losing sight of the power of the gospel: a unique truth.

I am no longer a pastor.

It isn’t my vocation to share Jesus anymore. No more twice a Sunday sermons and mandatory coffee dates with the flock. No more youth meetings or ministry opportunities at schools. No more sharing Jesus as my day job.

It is what I am called to be though. We all are. There’s no escaping it. It is part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We have to share him, but how?

I’m just trying to be myself: celebrating what Jesus has created in me. That has to make an impact. Doesn’t the Bible say that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that God uses us as we are, with all our idiosyncrasies? Check out Moses, Jeremiah and Jonah to name a few unqualified people. That gives me hope because I sometimes feel particularly unqualified for this sharing of Jesus he has commanded me to do.

I hate breaking things down into a formula because faith, and the sharing thereof, is not formulaic. There are some principles, however, that loosely underpin my sharing of Jesus. Feel free to grade me on these:

1.       I must be in awe of Jesus and the gospel.  It’s no good sharing something passionately about which I am not passionate. Daily. It is an everyday decision to do that: be passionate about Jesus.

2.       It seems corny but my life must shout “Jesus”, as much as what I say.  That includes my online persona: the things I post, tweet and write on my blog.

3.       I will not be judgmental. Again, this is a daily decision. Knowing Jesus, doesn’t make me holy, it just reminds me of the fact that I am as bad a sinner as any and that grace is actually amazing, like the hymn says.

4.       I will make friends with people first and I will be upfront about my faith. There is nothing great about blindsiding people with the gospel.

5.       I will love because Jesus loves. Even my enemies and those who laugh and sneer at me because the gospel sounds foolish to them.

6.       I will be real. I will acknowledge that I can sometimes be a real idiot and oftentimes I’ll get things wrong. I will be authentically me. No faces. No facades. No playacting for the audience. Just Bruce, struggling to (and sometimes getting it right) live the life I am called to live: a life that pleases Jesus.

7.       I will speak about Jesus at every opportunity.

So, no formulas here.  Just a guy who used to be a pastor who has learned what it means to really love Jesus again and deeply desires that others would love him too.


For more from Bruce, check out his blog, Barista Bruce's Brews, and be sure to follow him on the Twitter machine

Have you ever struggled with "sharing Jesus"?
(I wasn't kidding about his avatar, right?! Pretty rad...)