I confess that too many times I have thought that only squeaky clean “qualified” Christians could share the gospel. Sometimes I even thought, only educated middle or upper class people could make disciples, lead bible studies, or run churches. How shallow of me! But how many of us in the Church think like this? I think our actions show that we believe this to be true. Around you, who leads churches? Who leads bible studies? Who leads ministry programs? Seminary graduates, “professional” ministers, missionaries, or “qualified” Christians. I know this is not always the case, but it usually is. Do you want to know why this is the case? It is because we don’t believe that simple ordinary people can do it, and that they need to be “qualified” to lead.
Through the years of ministry life, God has been changing my view. I have seen God over and over humble me with this attitude that I have had. We ran a bible study for mentally challenged people living in a lower income apartment community and let them take it over and lead. They were able to do things that I would never have gotten done. They invited their neighbors who would never have listened to me and they came. They loved their neighbors in ways that I could not.
We also started a bible study with a guy who was a former gang leader and drug dealer and honestly in the back of my mind I couldn’t imagine him doing anything without us. What thinking! Now this guy is following Jesus and he is reaching out to drug dealers himself.
Over and over I have seen God use simple, ordinary, far from perfect people. Obviously the Bible uses simple, ordinary, far from perfect people. God used uneducated men and women, murderers, adulterers, prostitutes, demonically oppressed people, lepers, and tax collectors. The point is, God wants to use everyone.
So what do we do? We need to believe in people no matter how different they are from us and no matter how imperfect they are. They will do a far better job than us in reaching their own communities! We need to invest in them, support them, empower them and train them to reach others. We need to believe in people!