The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’” Mark 1:1-3
Welcome to the Advent Season, everyone! I am certain this season is as special at your church as it is at mine. Now begins the challenge of leading our people’s hearts to turn toward Christ as opposed to getting so entangled with the secular culture of Christmas that they lose sight of Jesus. I know you are thinking about that. You are considering how you can best lead so as to help your people “prepare the way for the Lord”. In that regard, you, my church leader friend, are John the Baptizer. Your calling this season is to help your people prepare for Jesus.
So, as you strategize about this Advent Season in your own church, and how you will help your people prepare for Jesus, will you just consider the following:
- How will you help the single mom who is holding down three jobs and just trying to survive from one day to the next prepare her heart for Jesus?
- What is your strategy to help the child whose parent is deployed or in prison or just disappeared to prepare his/her heart for Jesus this season?
- What can you do this week to help that nursing home resident who gave your church so many good years of ministry to prepare for Jesus this season?
- What is your plan to pour into your second tier of church leaders over the next couple of weeks, so that they and their families are prepared for Jesus?
- How will your church minister to those who have lost loved ones in the past year and who now face their first Christmas season without them?
- What about the missionary family who unexpectedly found themselves back here for the Christmas season instead of out on the field with the people they have grown to love? How will you help them prepare their hearts for Jesus?
- And lastly, while you are busy trying to be all things to all people in your congregation, what exactly are you planning for your own family this season, so that they will have hearts turned toward Jesus instead of resenting your ministry pulling you away from them?
John the Baptizer, it seems, was just a little bit crazy…a little bit different from normal folks. And now we know why. Helping make the way straight for Jesus in the hearts of one’s people is, well, a lot of hard work! Shoulder to the wheel, my church leader friend…shoulder to the wheel!