The Evangelical Dream: The Wife, The Kids, and the Thriving Ministry
I think the “American Dream” is a sham that my culture tries to sell me on. It tells me to get married in my early thirties after I am done partying. I am supposed to have kids within my first decade of marriage (not too early: got to save up for that house down-payment). I should also have the dream job and get that often sought after promotion that comes with more vacation time and a corner office. There are BBQs and pool parties, and pets.
To me, this dream looks like sick domestication: complete and utter disregard for the extreme and radical call of Jesus Christ.
I often consider what great things that I will do for the Lord. I picture teaching at a seminary or on the mission field. I think about being involved with a thriving, growing church. I think about translating the Bible into new, yet untracked languages. Then for a moment, I realize that I am not actually doing great things for the Lord in these visions of mine.
Instead, I have taken the very mindset of the American Dream that I so harshly and arrogantly criticize and repainted it with Christian overtones. It would be a good thing for me to go overseas and teach pastors at local churches theology. It would be an awesome thing to be involved with the leadership of a thriving, growing church. It would be a great thing to translate the Bible into new languages. But, it should not be part of my Evangelical dream.
Instead of fleeing from domestication, I just put it in the camouflage of ministry. I don’t want the family of four, a nice house, and a comfortable job. Instead I want the theology degree, the pastorship, and the hip, thriving church. This is not to say that any of these goals are evil. What is evil is how quickly I can catch myself criticizing people who I think have sold out and retreated into domestication when I am also guilty. And not just guilty of domestication, but guilty of allowing my personal ambitions and dreams to subvert God truly working through me.
Aggressively seeking after the Kingdom of God is not just an extension of my family, educational, and career ambitions. It is not just a the path I take to success. It is a motivating reality that invades my entire life and slays the self-seeking, people-pleasing, heathen that I so often want to be.
My prayer is that I don’t simply turn my Christ-centered life into a self-satisfying “success story.” I would rather have a small ministry with a genuine heart for the Gospel than a mega-church meandering around the Kingdom of God, but that never aggressively seeks it.