Thoughts of a Radical Pastor Ansell: If you could say ONE thing to the church you grew up in, what would it be?

By Ken Ansell
Ken Ansell

I like Twitter. I’m not a big fan of its evil twin Facebook. It seems like Twitter is the serious sibling in the social media family and if there was a Christian in the family I’m sure it would be Twitter. All of that was free and please don’t hate me.

Tuesday morning I got up early and was drinking my coffee at the kitchen table reading through Psalms 10 while the Blonde (my wife Jennifer) was at Walmart dodging COVID-19, buying our turkey, sweet potatoes and fresh cranberries (homemade cranberry sauce this year).

After checking out God’s Word I was checking out my Twitter feed and I saw this post: “If you could say ONE thing to the church you grew up in, what would it be?  Psst … it doesn’t HAVE to be criticism. But I understand if it is. Try to keep it constructive.” My reply was: Thank you for loving me and striving to disciple me.  

I love the church. My famous television preacher friend (if I told you his name you would probably know it) likes to say, “The church is my mother and I love her.” I would add that while she is not always pretty she is still the bride.

I’m convinced now more than ever that the church really is the only thing good in this world and like Hans Brinker the Dutch boy that saved his country by putting his finger in the leaking dike, look out when she leaves the planet. At that point all of H#@& really will break loose.  

I say it a lot but I will say it again, I grew up in a great Christian home where faith was always on display. My dad was a pastor and he loved Jesus and he loved people. His love for both of those seemed to trickle down into my life for which I will be forever grateful. What I’m saying is the people he loved, loved me.  

I had an old deacon in the Texas panhandle tell me once, “Son, there is no such thing as constructive criticism.” I get what he meant but if there was constructive criticism for the church today it might be that we have forgotten the mandate given by Jesus, “Go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19 - 20, Acts 1:8).” 

We are supposed to be multiplying, we are supposed to be a disciple that makes disciples that makes disciples. “Preach the Gospel, die, and be forgotten” is how Nikolaus Ludwig put it in the 1700’s.

Not only will most people pass away without ever sharing the Gospel with someone else but they will also pass away without ever having made a disciple (making disciples might be best defined as “helping people find and and follow Jesus”) It’s a pretty simple mission but I think we have made it way too hard.  

I’m not sure who first asked this question: “Why are you on earth?” but it may be the only thing that is truly relevant. I don’t know about you but I love Jesus and I love Him a lot and He told me to go and to make disciples and because Jesus is the most serious person I know I try to be all gas and no brake when it comes to this disciple making mission if you know what I mean?! 

I’ve been blessed. A lot of people in the church I grew up in knew why they were here and they invested in my life. These people are now a part of that Faith Hall of Fame we read about in Hebrews 11. I’d like to think they are cheering me on as I run my race (Hebrews 12:1 & 2) — as I do what they taught me to do and better yet, they showed me how to do it. 

He told me to tell you that.