From Connected to Committed to Compelled

In his article titled, “Change a City; Take a Continent; Win the World,” Pastor Muriithi Wanjau (Pastor of Mavuno Church in Nairobi, Kenya) compares the challenge that churches face in “making disciples” to a popular side-dish in Kenya and Tanzania called “ugali.”

Ugali is a “starchy, polenta-like food” that goes by many names in African countries. In Zambia, it’s known as “nsima,” in South Africa it’s called “pap” and Zimbabweans call it “sadza.”

Pastor Wanjau says that there is no one right recipe for this dish. Any recipe you might come across is just one of the many ways this dish can be made.

Then he claims that the church can be the same way about making disciples. It seems that every place of worship has its own recipe. Here are some examples:

  • A church that sees the world as “ignorant” will focus on teaching and education.
  • A church that sees the world as sick and in need of deliverance will focus on counseling and healing.
  • A church that sees the world as evil will focus on separating itself from that world.
  • A church that sees the world as lost will focus on rescuing people from hell through personal salvation.
  • A church that sees the world as needy and hurting will focus on compassion.

I think we all can agree that each of these “callings” is valid and “good.” Wanjau’s concern is that sometimes the good can become the enemy of the “best.” So … what is the best?

He says that Jesus left us all with a calling that precedes any of these. The one true “all encompassing core-calling that Jesus left for His followers (is) to turn ordinary disciples into fearless world-changers.” And being a disciple of Christ, he reminds us, is our life’s work.

When we make this our own life’s work, then we move from a life of complacency to “a life of fullness and riches in His Kingdom.” How does this happen? Wanjau lays out a 3-step change process that emerging disciples will go through as the Holy Spirit transforms then into becoming an ambassador for Jesus in every single part of our lives.

As people (and churches) that are used to serving their own desires, discipleship will first teach us the power of community. Guess what – it’s not all about us! Being “connected” with other believers and seekers helps us see the world and God through different eyes from our own.

It’s an amazing part of the walk to discipleship to learn that wisdom about God is given to all people, and that we can only grow in our knowledge of God by being in community with people who have their own vision and experience of God. That is why we respect and honor all faith traditions and spiritual practices that lead to the one true God.

As one continues to grow in discipleship, one moves from connected to “committed.” Once we begin to follow and trust the power of the Holy Spirit, as will happen to us in our worship and our service, we begin to realize – in our own humility – that even folks like us can make a giant impact for God and God’s Kingdom.

The change happening within us is now undeniable and irreversible. God has claimed our heart just as we have claimed Jesus as our Lord. No turning back … No turning back.

Having caught the “vision” of what God is really wanting from us, we then move from being committed to being “compelled.” We are compelled to live for Christ, and we are compelled to share our own experience with God and others. We just can’t help it. It’s who we are now! And, each of us has our own way of walking that path, but always submitting to the Spirit of Christ.

It’s at this point when all the earthly labels we wear, based on all our roles and responsibilities in life, become secondary to the one goal of identifying ourselves as followers of Jesus. It’s now that we can say, “I live for Christ and Christ alone.”

Without broad proclamations or even personal intentions, we begin to be molded by Christ into change agents. Do you see yourself as a change agent yet?

First, we begin to change, and then it spreads: our church changes; our families change; our neighborhoods change; our schools change; our town changes; and we find that we are living in the stream of change that is the coming of God’s Kingdom. And that is a stream of great peace and joy.  

That’s how the world gets changed for Christ! And we are all a part of that. No longer do we believe that God created us to “be born; grow up; make money; and then die.”

God has so much more for us that that! Wanjau says that we “are born to be fearless;” and born to be “world-changers” – 2 things we could never be without God.  

So, whether we know it or not (and many do not), we are here to change the world; one person … one church … one family … one neighborhood …. and one town at a time.

I’d say that the Vine Street church family is well on its way to changing the world. Wouldn’t you? If you don’t feel a part of that yet, let it begin with you … and Jesus. There is only one “Way,” and the path is narrow, and the climb is steep. But “Oh My God!” – the view is unbelievable!


Many blessings along the path,

Pastor Bob <><