John 21 for the 21st Century

Four “Church Questions” That Have Reached Their Sell-By Date…

The questions examined in the last three weeks that may have lost traction in our rapidly changing culture:

Where do you go to church? The “attractional model” of bringing people into church risks depriving congregations of learning to play “away games” in our cultural context.

Will this…bright, shiny new thing…get us new members? This runs the risk of treating ministry as a transaction. Input effort and plans and get people in return.

What is God doing next? risks ignoring that God is doing something now.

Week 4: John 21 for the 21st Century

John 21 is known for the last few verses—Jesus asking Peter three times “do you love me?” and commissioning Peter to go “feed my sheep.” But the initial encounter Jesus has with his disciples in that chapter is illuminating.

Post-Easter, the disciples are headed back to fish. Even after the joy of the empty tomb, they are acting like we all act in grief – they are going back to what they know best. And then Jesus, first unrecognized, appears on the shore. They have fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus instructs them to fish off the other side of the boat—to re-rig, to re-equip themselves for a different type of fishing. Much more occurs but notice especially this: they catch a massive amount of fish and drag it ashore. And there Jesus is, fixing them breakfast by grilling fish. Where did Jesus get his fish? Not from the disciples. Jesus does not need us to do all the work of producing. But, Jesus invites their catch to join his.

Twenty-first century ministry requires more than a return to what we already know. It will mean re-equipping to do ministry in new ways. And yes, we work, but our work is formed, directed, nurtured and joined to the work God is already doing. Can we recognize what God is doing today? God has prepared a feast for us – today. The invitation is not to produce or invent – but to join with God in what God is already doing.



Next week:

How Are You Managing?


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