In the last couple of days I’ve seen a number of tweets and articles from churches and mission agencies claiming that the people involved in them are changing the world. I’m not convinced.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that these people are not wonderful, hard-working, dedicated and well-intentioned. I just don’t believe that they are changing the world. Oh, and I don’t believe that the world isn’t being changed. I just don’t believe that they are the ones changing it.
Let me explain. When Christian ministry (be it through a church or mission agency) is successful it is God who achieves that success; not the church or agency. Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the seed to grow. God calls us to work alongside him. He uses our efforts – the slick and professional as well as the gauche and embarrassed – to bring glory to himself. We serve God and God changes the world.
This might sound picky, but I think it is really important for at least two reasons.
Firstly, when we claim that we change the world, we are claiming credit for something that God has achieved. That really isn’t a good idea.
Secondly, when we think of ourselves as world-changers, we can easily slip into prioritising our techniques and methodologies over a prayerful dependence on God. This, too, is not a good idea.
The ultimate aim of Christian work is to bring glory and honour to God and this needs to start with the way in which we talk about the work we do.
As they say on Twitter: just sayin’.