When we are passionate about something we are doing, particularly a spiritual pursuit or passion, we typically make every effort to ensure the visibility, desirability, and even attractiveness of our cause. We might have a passion to pursue Jesus Christ in all His fullness and to experience the truth and power of the Gospel, a passion to end modern-day slavery, a passion to end abortion, to eradicate racism, to end child labor in African coffee fields, to dig water wells for communities without clean water, to provide education for the homeless or fair wages for those in the clothing factories in China. While there is nothing wrong with drawing others to a cause we deem worthy of their attention, we need to be aware that we (and our “ministry” or “cause”) are a waypoint, as opposed to a destination. If we are not careful to serve only as a stopping point, a location where people might find a bit of rest and a place to get their bearings before continuing their journey, others may fail to reach their goals; they may camp out with us and completely forget about traveling onward to reach their own intended destinations.
In the case of Aglow International, the local groups are (quite appropriately!) called lighthouses. Lighthouses illuminate the safe approach into a harbor potentially fraught with obstacles. Local Aglow groups use the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit to refresh, equip, and train “travelers” to continue to their various areas of Kingdom assignments this side of heaven. However, in my experience, it can be far too easy to expect people to come to US, remain with US, champion our particular cause, and never move on past a certain point.
This principle applies to families, churches, and any other ministry or movement. The purpose of parenting, for example, is to raise self-sufficient, independent young adults who pursue their own paths in life. My thirty-year-old should not rely on me to tie his shoes! He should be well equipped, if I have done my job properly, to make his own decisions and pursue his own passions (which may not be expressed the same way as mine). Similarly, churches are families of believers where people are equipped to touch the hearts of others outside that immediate family with the good news of Jesus. If churches never train and launch anyone, they will never impact the surrounding community.
I often ask myself whether what I am doing revolves around me and my personal causes, or whether I am designing what I do to include, train, and send others on the road to their respective “harbors.” Do my ministry activities focus on drawing others to me, or do they facilitate others in connecting with the Holy Spirit and hearing His voice for their own areas of impact? Am I seeking followers to come camp with me permanently, or do I remember to shine the light, serve up something fortifying and refreshing, and perhaps provide a temporary stopping place, before launching them back into the water?
In the case of Aglow lighthouses, the goal is to serve as a waypoint, a stopping point, an equipping post; Aglow is NOT a destination. Aglow groups seek to position themselves in a harbor at a point of need or challenge in their respective communities, and they strive to shed light on the safe path through those challenges into the harbor of the truth of the Gospel. Aglow leadership trains and launches others into various fields of ministries, which are always a function of the individual’s particular gifts and passions.
Let’s remember that our lives are NOT a destination — they serve to point the way for those around us and to encourage them in the area of Kingdom activity THEY are called to pursue. It is no coincidence that Jesus said to GO into all the world (Mark 16:15); let’s shine our lights in strategic locations to help others find their way! WE are NOT the destination….