Do you remember that feeling as a kid playing Kick the Can when you would watch someone sprint toward the can to boot it and set everyone free? I remember the anticipation, the laughs and the chaos as everyone scattered. I loved the times I was the guy who got to kick the can and initiate all that. We played for hours.
I think the church in America needs some can kickers. Me, you, someone in your pew.
Can kickers are driven by the desire to scatter. Can kickers don’t mind risk. Can kickers like a good dose of chaos.
The church in America has gone through at least three decades of making self-preserving moves working to ensure everyone is comfortable and getting their needs met. In the meantime, fewer and fewer people have been hearing about Jesus outside the church walls. We’re so busy at church we just don’t have time for relationships.
Everyone is gathered around the can. We talk about Jesus, we sing and we throw around words like “evangelism” and “outreach.” But mostly, we just stare at the can. In this church game, most of us have even forgotten why the can is there.
And then it happens. Some wild one comes sprinting in and kicks the can. He comes in, kicks it and says, “Let’s get outta here! Run!” But he’s not running away from God. He’s not setting people free from Jesus. He’s calling them to risk, chaos and bringing Jesus to people outside the church. He’s yelling, “Go! Go and make disciples! Run!”
A bunch of like-minded, daring disciples are immediately and instinctively into it. They are the ones who make others in the church uncomfortable because they dare ask Jesus to heal people, do miracles and answer prayer. They talk about following Jesus with everything and they don’t think faith is a private thing.
Cans are being kicked all over the United States. For the first time in decades more new churches are opening than old ones closing. Urban centers, universities, neighborhoods, suburbs, theaters, pubs and schools are seeing people excited about Christ starting new works that don’t look much like the churches they have seen.
Studies are showing that 50 percent of the people attending these new faith communities are exploring Jesus for the first time. That’s what Jesus was talking about! That’s what we’re supposed to be doing – starting new communities and revitalizing old ones.
I see the can. I feel the adrenaline building. I’ve got the urge to make a run at it and give it a good punt. I want to hear the laughter, sense the anxiousness and revel in the chaos of doing the crazy thing.
I feel alive. I want to equip a generation of can-kickers …
Eph 4: 11-13 He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.