The following is an excerpt from Shannon Kiser’s forthcoming ebook How Any Normal Person Can Pioneer a Fresh Expression of Church! Sign up HERE to be the first to download it.
Be honest…when you think of a pioneer leader for a fresh expression of church, a picture probably forms in your mind’s eye. That picture is likely someone who is super-charismatic, super-knowledgable, super-talented…frankly, super-human. You probably don’t picture yourself. You probably look in the mirror, and an ordinary person looks back at you.
But have you ever noticed how many ordinary people God used in Scripture to do extraordinary things?
Abraham was just an ordinary older guy living his daily routine in a town called Ur
Joseph was a written-off teenage victim of human trafficking
Daniel was a forgotten Babylonian captive
Amos was just a regular guy taking care of fig trees and sheep
Nehemiah was a guy whose job was to drink first out of the king’s cup and not die
David was the overlooked, youngest child shepherding the herd
Peter and John were fishermen
Mary was a young bride-to-be
Joseph was a carpenter
Lydia was a street vendor
All of these and more were ordinary people who God used for the unfolding of God’s priorities and God’s kingdom. As a matter of fact, in Acts, the Jewish elite were astonished at the power and courage of a group who they perceived to be “unschooled, ordinary” people. But those are the very ones that God used to change the world and unleash a movement of Christ followers and world changers throughout the Roman empire and beyond.
In the modern era, we have professionalized and institutionalized church and ministry, but what if that’s the very thing that is keeping many people at arm’s distance from the church? What if the most impactful mission in this era is not going to be proclamation from the pulpit but life alongside people?
You don’t have to be an expert in Christian theology to start a fresh expression of church.
You don’t have to have a PhD to start a fresh expression of church.
You don’t have to be a charismatic speaker to start a fresh expression of church.
You don’t have to be a pastor to start a fresh expression of church.
You just have to love Jesus and love people. You have to have a heart that yearns for people far from God to discover the fullness of life with God. And have a willingness to go wherever that yearning takes you to be a sign and foretaste of the kingdom of God in the world beyond your church walls.
The question to ask yourself is not what credentials you need, but rather…
Who does your heart break for as you look around your community, workplace, or networks?
What might it look like to walk with them towards Jesus?
And what are you wiling to do about it?
God has a history of using ordinary people to unleash the kingdom of God.
Why not you?
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.—1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Shannon serves as Director of Training, leading our team of mission strategists and trainers in the development and implementation of the Mission Shaped Ministry course through Pioneer Learning Communities. She is also a pastor on staff with Riverside Church in Sterling, VA, a Church that worships in two languages and engages in several Fresh Expressions of Church. In the last several years, Shannon has been involved with the Presbyterian Church’s New Worshiping Communities initiative, and has directed the coaching network that supports pioneer leaders. Shannon lives in Springfield, VA with her husband Patrick and teenage daughters Catherine and Suzanne.