Jonathan D. Stephens




2013 target

Sunday mornings are organized chaos in my home.  The alarm goes off at 7:00am and then the race begins.  My wife and I start by getting ready (it actually takes me longer to get ready than my wife).  Our two kids rouse from their slumber at 7:45am; the calm before the storm is officially over!  We race to get two kids out of bed, dressed, fed, and in the car so that we can get on the road by 9:00am.  I think we have made it twice!  We park our car, load the bus, shuttle to Hope’s main campus, check our kids into Kid City, and then make it to our seats in the auditorium just in time for the final song before our pastor speaks…FEW!  But wait…the race is only half over!  We run out of the auditorium, pick up our kids, jump on the bus, and load up our car and race to make it home just in time to feed the never ending trough that is our two kids bellies!  I’ve attended Hope for nearly a dozen years but you’ve probably never seen me.  We show up at church and then quickly disappear without leaving a single trace.

Like thousands of other attendees at church, simply showing up on time at church on a weekly basis can feel like a commitment.  This is the story I have told myself for a dozen years. But is just showing up at church on Saturday or Sunday really what God calls us to?  Does a three-hour rat race equal a relationship with the creator of the Universe?  Is the passive existence of filling a seat in the auditorium really living out the abundant life Jesus promises?  I think not.  I believe in a living God, a God that promises us an abundant life.  I believe God wants us to do more than just show up and fill a seat.  I believe God wants us to get in the game and be a part of the incredible work he is doing in reaching the Triangle and changing the world.

This past June I met with one of our church leaders.  I shared my story and how I felt I could no longer ignore the tug on my heart that I was feeling.  You know, the heart string pull when you hear about ways to get involved in working with Kid City because they don’t have enough volunteers, helping out with the homeless, adopting an orphan so that have clothes and a chance at an education, or taking a short term mission trip to build a new school in Uganda or help build a hospital in Haiti.  I didn’t really know where I could make a difference.  I didn’t know what strengths or talents I had that would allow me to serve where I was gifted.  We spoke about how growing up I had been a counselor at the YMCA and also a Young Life Leader.  As a result, I starting helping out as a large group leader in Kid City.  But I wanted to do more than just help out for 1 hour on Sunday.  We also discussed the business I had recently started after finishing up the MBA program at NC State.  He introduced me to the leaders of our church that were starting a new initiative to bring together believers who are called to the marketplace.   I didn’t know how I could help but I knew that I felt it was time to get involved.  I imagine there are other folks that share this same desire.  Here are four ways you will benefit by getting involved:

  1. Connection: Acts 2: 42-47 speaks about the connection and fellowship of believers. Getting involved in a community will allow you to connect with fellow believers, be encouraged, and learn.
  2. Challenge: Luke 10:2 says that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  By answering the call you will be one of the few that will be able to witness first hand how a personal relationship with a loving God will change lives.
  3. Character: Proverbs 27:17 says, “As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Would our co-works say that we are the same person during a meeting at 10:30am on Thursday as we are at 10:30am on Sunday?  Getting involved will help us grow spiritually so that we can become a closer reflection of Jesus to our family members, friends, and colleagues at work.
  4. Clarity: Is your life led by a compass pointing north, navigating your life in the right direction?  Psalm 73:24 says “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Where do you turn in times of need or confusion?  There is no better place to seek wise counsel than by serving an all-knowing God.

It has taken me nearly a dozen years to get out of my comfortable seat in the church auditorium.  I have decided that I don’t want to just have a front row seat and watch others reach the triangle and change the world.  Is 2013 the year you decide to get in the game?

What’s holding you back from getting in the game?  What talents and gifts have you been given that you can use to make a difference?

Ready to get connected?  Learn more HERE!

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