There’s a growing trickle of churches that increasingly engage their communities. They invest in the baptized people of God to become shepherds/missionaries where they live, work and play.
This is no small task for most church leaders! People often see themselves as unable or disabled to be real participants in God’s mission.
They’re good people…they pray, they worship, they give, they show up for things. They just somehow see themselves as disabled to actually step forward and lead and impact!
When did you last find yourself feeling useless? When did you last find others you see as valuable but who see themselves as useless?
Here’s a little known fact: The disorder is termed B.I.I.D. (The definition is from Wikipedia.)
Body Integrity Identity Disorder (B.I.I.D., also referred to as amputee identity disorder) is a psychological disorder in which an otherwise healthy individual feels that they are meant to be disabled.
A couple of examples: A man who wants to have his leg removed because he feels he should be an amputee. A woman who feels she should be blind. B.I.I.D.!
The disorder is most common among white, middle-aged men.
Our churches are filled with normally healthy people who see themselves as disabled. They’re convinced that they really can’t be a leader, that they really can’t impact the world. Convinced that they really can’t be a disciple that makes more disciples.
These otherwise healthy, believing people filled with the Spirit feel incapable to live out God’s bold purpose in their lives. We see it especially in this new missionary age that seems thrust upon the church.
How did this happen?
Better yet? What would it look like if you began to invest in a few who could invest in a few so that person after godly person could listen to the words of Jesus and put them into practice?
What’s worse? Many leaders, maybe pastors in particular, suffer through a few years or a decade or two of getting bumped and bruised by demanding church members. They surrender the courage and confidence to lead, let alone chart the counter church culture course for the long view and not just submit to the demands of another week at the church.
The future for most of our churches is not found in the next nifty program or remodeled building or even well articulated Sunday sermon. It will be found in investing in people so they can escape whatever disorder has them viewing themselves as disabled for the larger mission of God. Investing in them the way that Jesus did and Paul did so they can carry the Gospel to pockets and places of communities that church programs could never reach.
So, how about this for a conversation…
- with your spouse?
- at the next leaders meeting?
- quietly with yourself and God?
Rev. Dr. Jock Ficken