In addition to being active as a speaker for and from Royal Mission, I work three days a week for a commercial company. I regularly have the opportunity for valuable conversations there, for example when I talk about my ‘other work’. I recently had another conversation with a customer. We soon discovered that we were both Christians, always very cool how a conversation takes on a different dimension (both with believers and non-believers )! That’s how I discovered that he had a great passion for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. After this special discovery, he shared his disappointment about the fact that there is so little room in churches for the Holy Spirit and His gifts. And how this is often due to disappointments and unpleasant experiences of people in this area. For safety reasons, many people simply ignore the Spirit altogether. It took my mind back to the Sunday before. When I found myself in a similar situation…
Before the service where I spoke, I gently shared with the leadership team that I had prayed beforehand and received a word of knowledge. A number of faces were immediately very tense because ‘people were not used to that in this municipality’. Yet I believed that I had truly received something and pleaded passionately to share this word. Fortunately, after a good discussion we were able to come to a compromise and a miracle of God’s provision took place; the word was a hit. Afterwards, the leadership had no other choice than that God had revealed Himself through one of the gifts of the Spirit. What a great victory!
With this event still fresh in my memory, I listened to an interview with Ben Tiggelaar about the performance company. In the performance society we are especially happy in the world of success. Simply being a good student is no longer good enough. And as I absorbed his words, I came to the conclusion that this culture of performance has also crept into the church. Because we also seem to have become afraid of failure in the church. Where has the imperfection gone? Everything is well arranged and organised. There is simply no room for taking risks and making mistakes. But is that what the Bible teaches us?
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10, Paul talks about his weakness. How God works through that. It is precisely in our failure, in our brokenness, that we discover that we are dependent. And that is precisely where Jesus wants to meet us and be strong in our weakness. I believe it is time as a church to create a culture of imperfection. Church should be a place where we don’t have to do it perfectly and where we can learn without being judged because we are in a safe environment of family. A ‘playground’ for Christians to practice with the gifts of God’s Spirit. To find out that we can’t boast in ourselves because He’s the One who does it. It is He who gives grace when we fall, but also who gives grace to do wonders and signs. In that ‘playground’ we can become accustomed to His voice. It is precisely in such a culture that there is safety in wanting to do better and not sitting back instead of a fear of making mistakes.
We are called to live Jesus. To represent Him and make His Kingdom visible. How fantastic it is to receive a word of knowledge in the supermarket for the lady who is just putting her organic bananas in her basket. A word that turns her life upside down. A word through which the Kingdom of God breaks through in her and her family. This may seem like a pipe dream, but it is possible if we can practice and learn. That demands something from our church. A cultural change. From performance to imperfection. From tightly organized to ‘playground’.
Should we go for that? For the King and the breakthrough of His Kingdom!
I would like to discuss this practically in my next blog. Already looking forward to 😉
Robbie van Veen (26) has been involved as a volunteer and speaker at Royal Mission for years. He is married to Anne and, in addition to his passion for the Kingdom and Jesus, he also has a passion for football, gourmet food, traveling and a practical joke from time to time.