The $300 smudge

“For we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen.”2 Corinthians 4:18

Windshields

Have you ever driven with a smeared windshield? It drives me crazy when my windshield isn’t clean.

Many years ago, I had a smudge on the inside of my windshield on the way to the office. In a moment of weakness, I thought that I could wipe it off as I was driving… big mistake.

Focusing on wiping my windshield for a moment caused me to veer into the oncoming lane… and coming at me was a police car… with his lights flashing! No collision occurred, but the ticket was expensive: $300. That was a valuable lesson: Never will I try to clean my windshield while driving again.

Windshields serve a purpose, and they need to stay clean and clear. But a spot on a windshield is trivial. It isn’t going to prevent you from getting to your destination unless you focus on it and allow it to steer you off course. Staying on course and watching the road ahead is necessary.

But in ministry, we always need to remember that our priority isn’t about the road. It’s about the people sitting next to us when we’re in motion.

Baptism weekend

Recently, we had our whole weekend worship focused on water baptism. At Christ Fellowship, we have a rhythm of baptizing monthly. But this was a church-wide effort to really challenge people and put a special focus on this important step of faith and obedience.

Our leadership challenged the entire church to get baptized if they hadn’t already done it as an adult. You never know what kind of response that will get. We planned for approximately 700 people stepping forward, but we were blown away when 1,400 were baptized. That’s just like God to double our expectations!

Another 200 people followed during the next two weekends!

We saw the fruit of all of our planning and preparation. Before the big weekend, I was focused on the road ahead. Mailing out invitation cards, making phone calls, ordering t-shirts and towels and setting up sign-in tables felt a little mechanical … and it felt somewhat impersonal. But when the day actually came, it became very personal and a reminder that it’s about people. This was a massive celebration of life in Christ.

Prior to the event, in one of our planning meetings, our Lead Pastor, Todd Mullins patiently listened to all of the processes we were putting in place. As we finished the meeting, he stood up to share one more important item that had not been mentioned. He instructed us to give allowance for those who might not follow all of the processes. If someone walked up to get baptized, but hadn’t signed in yet, they shouldn’t be sent back to the sign-in tables.

We had many great conversations with people who bypassed the sign-in tables. Focusing on their hearts and their excitement to make a statement for Christ allowed those people to make a renewed commitment with their lives.

The One Thing To Remember

At Christ Fellowship, we’re passionate about people. Focusing on the people in front of us and not on our process is critical in our ministry. We’ve seen this have eternal rewards… countless times.

I’m not sure why we’re surprised when people respond to God. We’ve seen so many people who were broken, who tried to find joy in this world, tell us they wanted Jesus to be Lord of their life. And every time that happens, our hearts leap with joy and our faith in God grows stronger.

We always need to keep people first.