After many years of reading and studying the New Testament, I made a startling realization today; most of the epistles (letters) are addressed to ordinary people. If you don’t believe me, just take a couple minutes to flip through your Bible and look at the salutations. The majority are addressed to the churches in different locales. Like our modern day churches, these churches were filled with ordinary people living ordinary lives. There were carpenters, fishermen, sales people, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers within these churches. There were 1st century full time moms who spent the majority of the day picking up Cheerios and Legos off the floor. Yet, in the 21st century, we have missed or forgotten this powerful truth.
Within the 21st century evangelical church, we have raised up Rock Star Christians. I am not referring to bands such as Skillet, Newsboys, or for my older audience- Petra. I am referring to personalities such as Francis Chan, David Platt, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, among others. These are the ones that have attracted a huge following through blogs, twitter feeds, books, and the speaker circuit. I am not criticizing any of these men- I have been deeply challenged by each of their writings and speaking. Nor do I believe that they have sought the rock star persona thrust upon them. Unfortunately, many within the evangelical church are looking to these types to define a meaningful Christian life. Unless they live in near poverty, adopt a dozen kids, or pack up and move to a third world creative access country, they are sub par Christians. Admittedly, I can find myself falling into the same trap, believing that unless I do something really spectacular, I’m just not committed to the Lord and am not making a difference. I believe that it is time that we get back to Scripture to set the standard for the Christian life, instead of the evangelical rock stars.
Throughout the New Testament (written to ordinary people), we see the standards for Christ followers: pursue holiness, make disciples, pray continually, meet the needs of others, show honor, practice hospitality, be rich in good works, live peaceably with all, and feed your enemies. This is not an exhaustive list and was mostly taken from Romans 12-13. For the Christ-follower, bought by His blood, all of this is summed up in great commandments: “…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). In doing so, we will be salt and light, giving opportunity for others to ask the reason for the hope in us. These are the Scriptural standards for the Christian life that we must actively pursue. These are the standards for “ordinary people” which will make an eternal impact for Jesus Christ; wherever one is located physically, financially, and socially.
God will call some to sell everything and go to distant lands. If one is feeling burdened or discontent with his/her current situation, a season of Bible study, fasting, prayer, and counsel from respected Christians is needed to determine whether the discontentment is coming from disobedience to the Lord, a calling from Him, or if it is from desiring to be a rock star Christian. God calls all of us to faithful obedience to Him wherever we are at. We should all live in continual submission to where He would call us whether it is around the world or across the street; and whether we are a pastor, plumber, nurse, janitor, or a stay at home mom.
In order to counter the disillusionment from watching/reading men such as Chan and Platt, I believe it is critical to be involved in the local church and specifically in life group/small group settings. Chan and Platt live in different spheres and have different resources not available to most of us. They live in a different reality. Within small groups, life is shared with those in similar life circumstances and stages. It is there that believers will pray for and learn from each other as they mutually spur one another on to deeper obedience and kingdom impact in the their spheres of influence and ministry.
In closing, some of us will make a global impact for Christ but ALL of us are to make an eternal impact for Him. I’m no rock star…I’m just an ordinary Christ-follower trying to honor and serve Him right where He has placed me and with the resources and influence entrusted to me.
"My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings, altogether insignificant. But If I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed." -Oswald Chambers
Note: This issue has been heavy on my heart lately. I did not take as much time as usual to edit and clean up my article before posting. I wanted to post in order to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts on this issue in the comments below.
· Author and Pastor Kevin DeYoung has a phenomenal article which is a must read titled The Glory of Plodding
· Internet Blogger Tim Challies started writing about the same issue today in his post Ordinary:Christian Living for the Rest of Us
· The recent issue of World Magazine posted the excellent article The New Legalism
· Although somewhat disjointed, the 90 page book The God of the Mundane by Matt B. Redmond was an interesting book