Why is it that so few people witness to others about their faith and tell others about Jesus? Why is it that people are not winning souls and evangelizing as they go about their regular daily activities? I am coming to believe it is because they do not have a burden for the lost. The key word being “burden.”
People without a burden are generally people who are focused on themselves and looking for the easy, convenient, and comfortable route. Regrettable, this is the state of many people in the church today. They do not have a burden for the lost – those who are going to Hell because they do not know Jesus.
In Nehemiah’s day Jerusalem is in a mess because no one has a burden to fix it. People without a burden are content to do nothing. The people of Jerusalem were so content apparently they did not even see the problem. Though dishonoring to God and an embarrassment before the world, the status quo was fine for them.
Brad Powell in his wonderful book “Change Your Church for Good – The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping” so wonderfully points out that the people were saying by their inaction, “It may not be perfect, but it’s comfortable enough for us.” He goes on to say …”People without a burden are generally people who are focused on themseves and looking for the easy, convenient, and confortable route. Regrettably, this is the state of many of our churches.”
Brad Powell goes on to say, “Nehemiah showed up with a burden, and he passionately shared it with the people in Jerusalem. Everything changed. The people went from content and doing nothing to working sacrifically on the walls. It happened because Nehemiah shared a burden.
People in churches are generally good, sincere people. They’ve just lost the burden. Their focus has turned inward, and the result in predictable. This can all change as did the people in Nehemiah’s day. They just need someone to remind them what the church is suppose to be. They need someone to share the burden. Though most people settle for apathy, no one dreams of living a life of insignificance. Rather, they dream of making a difference, of being part of something bigger than themselves. When a leader with a burden shares that burden, it can wake people up to their dream.”
So, according to Brad Powell, it is a leadership problem. And, I agree. So, if we are going to turn the sheep around so that they begin to go in the direction the Chief Shepherd planned for them to go – to be salt and light, a force that will turn the world upside down, a mobile, apostolic people fulfilling the Great Commission – we need leaders who are committed to evangelism and have winning the lost to Jesus as a real burden in their lives.
As well, these leaders need to be good communicators (or learn to become good communicators) as they will need to share their burden for the lost in such a way that others can buy into it.
If you are a leader in a local church – or even the leader of a network, denomination or union – the people you lead need you to have and share a burden for the lost. If you don’t they will be content to simply feed on the pasture that you supply and think everything is fine in the Kingdom – because for them their needs are being met and everything appears fine … except that they are not fulfilling the task Jesus gave to the Church (to seek and save the lost) and are not using their gifts and callings to their full potential to help expand and establish the Kingdom further and further afield. They are literally in rebellion to the Lord who is the Head of the Church. So, leaders – time to get a personal burden for the lost and then learn to communicate it over and over again to your people.
This is what every church needs and needs desperately – someone to share the burden effectively.