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The Power of Ordinary People

In the era of “influencers,” it seems the power of being ordinary has been lost.  Ordinary is an anathema to the religion of social media. It’s the purgatory of the not “followed”, the curse of the not “liked.”  Ordinary doesn’t stand out. It’s barely noticed. It’s the state of being there, but that’s about it.

These days, it seems ordinary people are what nobody wants to be. Or at least that is the message the culture is sending.

After all, Kim Kardashian didn’t get 319 million followers by being every day. And Justin Bieber didn’t get 455 million followers by being the kid next door. The ordinary person isn’t going anywhere. We’ve got to be different. We’ve got to be a standout. We’ve got to be extraordinary. Whatever it takes.

Sadly, I fear the body of Christ is no less susceptible to this view than the world. I fear we have lost the power of the ordinary person, believing that future of our faith depends on the next Billy Graham, Rick Warren, or Tim Keller to step forth and proclaim the truth to all. Don’t get me wrong, I love all three of those giants of the faith. But I question whether the mega-influencer is still the best model for making disciples (if it ever was). I, for one, believe ordinary people are.

Who did God use?

Here is one thing I think we can all agree on. God was not overly concerned with finding extraordinary people to accomplish His will.  In fact, it seems that ordinary was far more the rule than the exception. God chose Noah for his righteousness, not his charisma. Gen. 6:8 He seemed to choose Abraham for his obedience, not his vast intellect or inherent leadership ability. Gen. 12:1-4. And as for Isaac, well he was the poster child of ordinary.

Then there’s Moses, Ruth, Samuel. Even David was the smallest guy in the lineup. And we haven’t even gotten to the disciples. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Ordinary people are the folks God chooses. Ordinary people are the vessels by which He demonstrates His glory.  Ordinary people have always been, and will always be, the instruments of His kingdom.

Why? We’ll have to ask Him that question. (As though we’ll have any questions for Him when at last we stand in His glory.) But one truth seems relevant.  When God calls ordinary people to do His extraordinary will, it is not the skills and talents of the person, but the power of God, that is revealed. Put another way, when people witness ordinary people living God’s extraordinary story, they see God working.

Oswald Chambers once said “all of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them.” It’s a remarkable truth we need to return to. 

Unleashing the Power of the Ordinary

If you are a believer who falls into the category of “ordinary”, or even “somewhat ordinary”, I suggest to you that you actually have an extraordinary power.  It is the power of your story.  By harnessing this power, I believe the church – through the power of the Holy Spirit – can greatly expand the Kingdom. 

But why do I believe your story is so powerful, you might ask? Because your story is a personal, relatable version of the greater narrative of redemption.  The way God extended faith by grace to you – however that may look – paints one more portrait of the truth that He indeed so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son.  Whether He reached you through Awana at age 7, or redeemed you from the deep pit of addiction at age 37, God demonstrated through you the same truth that all need to hear.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor. 5:17 Simply put, if you are a believer, the story of your seemingly ordinary life is a reflection of the extraordinary story of God’s redemptive plan. So tell your story. 

Equipped to Tell Your Story

If you’re with me still, you now may be primed and ready to tell your story. But before you jump in the deep end, before you go knocking on your neighbor’s door or corner you colleague at the water cooler, I would suggest a swimming lesson. Because the waters of culture can be turbulent, especially these days.

While the content of our stories may be straight forward, how we go about sharing them is different.  The Holy Spirit and prayer are the most obvious essential components of our witness. But there are other things that matter too.  The nuances of the culture we are in, the experiences of the individuals we seek to reach, even aspects of human psychology, or the words we use to communicate can shape how our stories are heard. 

We have our stories, but we can benefit greatly from having the right tools to share them.  We are ordinary people with an extraordinary story. We just need to understand the best way to share it in an ever-changing, complex, and increasingly conflicted world. 

So can I make a suggestion? (I’m going to anyway.)

Start by listening to the experiences and gaining the wisdom of others. Because, believe it or not, you aren’t the first person to do this.

GO 2022 – Learning to Tell Your Extraordinary Story

So here is the point of application, homiletically speaking, for this message. Here is one thing you can do to really push forward in the saddle and get about the business of telling the extraordinary story. To take part in GO 2022, an outreach and evangelism conference that is specifically designed to give you tools for sharing the gospel in our current times.

You will learn from Dr. Darrell Bock why “people are not the enemy, they are the goal.”[1] (Listen to a preview HERE) You will gain insights from Randy Newman on why ordinary people are at the heart of spreading the gospel, and what we can learn from C.S. Lewis on evangelism. (HERE is a preview on that). You will hear from pastors and scholars from across the world on how the gospel is moving globally. And you will discover tools for engaging younger generations, communicating effectively, or understanding how psychology impacts our witness.

Right now, you can take a quick and easy step forward in engaging the world with your story, just click HERE to sign up. For more information, visit the GO 2022 website. You will be blessed, but more importantly, the world will be blessed by you.

[1] Darrell Bock, Cultural Intelligence; Living For God in a Diverse, Pluralistic World (Nashville, B&H Academic, 2020), p.13.