Why I do what I do

I just had the privilege of hearing Tamrat Layne, a former prime minister of Ethiopia, speak here at the Dakota Stage.  He has some great insights from both education and experience.

This guy led a communist revolution.  I figure he knows something about starting a movement, right?

And he reminded me why I do what I do.  He reminded me of the importance of purpose.  He said we must have a purpose beyond ourselves, a purpose that extends beyond our generation.

One of the reasons I pastor here in Bismarck is because I believe that a purpose beyond ourselves is one of the primordial needs of each and every human being.  The thing that will leave us feeling the most fulfilled in life is giving ourselves to something larger than ourselves.  This is why thousands of Ethiopians followed Tamrat to their graves in the 80’s.  This is why young Americans are fleeing to join a foreign army in the Middle East right now.  These causes provide meaning, significance, and purpose.  I believe Jesus provides a greater purpose, something to give our entire lives to.  I’m just not convinced we pastors have done a great job of demonstrating that.

He also talked about values.  The significance of holding up certain values as essential to any movement.  Here again, I think we can do better.  I think sometimes in our very desperate clamoring for survival, the church can sometimes let things go.  “Oh, that? well, let’s just wink and not mention that again, it seems to offend some people.”  When we lose our values we might as well lose our purpose.  Because let’s be honest.  Our purpose is not to survive.

Jesus didn’t say “Go, and survive at all costs.”

Actually, if our purpose is survival we are certain to die.  Yea, you read that right.  If we aim at survival we will face certain extinction.  Think about it, pretty much all of us will be gone before 2100.  If we aim at survival, we might make it that long.  But if we aim at multiplication, replication, and transformation my money says we won’t just survive we will thrive – well into the future.

I was so glad that Tamrat mentioned that their revolution started with 5 individuals.  Our church has many, many times this.  I wonder if we can create a movement that drives us toward growing a transformational community centered on the love of Jesus.

Join me, lets build more than a place to go sing for an hour a week, let’s build a movement that exists to change the lives of people who haven’t even been born yet.