How can we be Reborn to be Wild?
by Janis Cox
A little while ago I wrote about Ed Underwood’s book, Reborn to be Wild. I asked him a few questions and here are his answers.
1. How can we “rebels” inspire our congregations to feel our passion?
I’ve had to learn this one the hard way. We have to be honest about our passion and our dissatisfaction, but also sensitive to the time it takes people to catch up to our deep desire to see the real thing. I’ve learned that if I give them some time, the true “status quo” freakish Pharisee who will never, and I mean never be on board will identify herself or himself. This is a person you shepherd with all your might and love, but someone you do not entrust your heart to (John 2:23). The ones who just needed a little catching up and coaching to get what you’re talking about will be your most ardent supporters if you shepherd them well.
Of course this all begins with the leaders. If the leaders aren’t together in this, it won’t happen in a healthy way. Typically divided leadership eventually leads to a divided church.
2. How can we as a church wake up the desire to be missional in our congregations?
The Word of God is alive and powerful. What I did was teach Acts, Colossians, Ephesians, and Romans. They will see what happened in the First Century and want it, because that’s what the Holy Spirit does with those books. I can’t emphasize enough the need for grace. Not only in justification, but also in sanctification. When Christians start living from whom they are in Christ and expect Him to use them as His new creations, things happen. Shame doesn’t do anything but create hiddenness and discouragement.
It’s critical that the leaders go first. If the leaders are missional in their own lives–making disciples, opening their homes, giving sacrificially, building healthy community, the people will follow. The leader who thinks he or she is going to get other people to do missional stuff while they just theorize and motivate is delusional and dangerous.
3. How can we as writers make a fire for Christ?
Don’t make the mistake I made with Reborn to Be Wild. Don’t get me wrong, I love the book and stand behind every word. But I feel I wrote it too much to the church and not enough to the individual believer. My first book, When God Breaks Your Heart, was emphatically a heart-to-heart conversation with another believer. So, you build a fire for revival in one heart and you’ve done something.
4. How can we encourage our congregations to see that their priorities are upside down?
Teach about the free gift of eternal life and the cost of discipleship. Distinguish between the gift (eternal life) and the prize (eternal rewards). Go to Luke 14:25-35 and emphasize the cost of discipleship. I believe the Holy Spirit is working in believers’ lives to encourage them to be all-in for Jesus. And then, do it yourself, equip your leaders to go all out for the Lord, live it before them and pray your guts out.
5. What will your next book be about?
It is about ambition, the godly version. It’s all done and our team is pretty excited about it.
Are you “on fire” for Jesus? Do you want to do more for God? Then, like Ed says, “Pray your guts out.”
Father, we are learning to pray. We are learning to talk to You. We want to drop our nets and follow Jesus. Help us to do that. In His name. AMEN.