Q & R from a “Contemporary Pentecostal” – what’s sufficient?

A reader writes …

Brian, thanks for your books. I’ve been a conventional AOG contemporary pentecostal in Australia for xx yrs, xx years of that a staffed lead pastor running a reasonably large multisite church until I burned out and was slowly debilitated by anxiety and depression.Since then I’ve been rethinking everything.

More after the jump –

The Q is below:

After resigning I took a job building fences on a dairy farm. Wouldn’t you know it, the dairy farmer was a fan of yours. He purchased “A New Kind of Christian” for me to read. This changed everything about everything (sounds like the title to a good book).
After building fences and picking tomatoes in a greenhouse for a year, i accepted a job in education awareness around mental health (making the most of a bad experience). Wouldn’t you know it, but my new colleague turned out to be a fan of yours. He lent me The Secret Message of Jesus. You’re rolling your eyes at this point wondering when the hell this guy is actually going to buy a book right? hahaha.
I blog about my experience under a pseudonym at http://thescrapheap.wordpress.com/
Anyway, what you’ve written is filling the void left after realising that everything I knew, was no longer able to inform me.
Just a quick question.
In chapter 10 (secret agents) you tell the story of Carter, and give great examples (soccer mom, computer business owner, lawyer etc.) and what a “normal” christian does as an “agent” of the kingdom. The question is – do you feel this is sufficient?
I’m in two minds. I work with people in one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit charity who work with homeless, mentally ill, the disadvantaged and abused. After leaving the church (the hope of the world), I am staggered to see regular people who would say they’re not christian, doing amazing things. I thought the church had this sector cornered, only to find there are regular joe’s out there doing amazing things on a daily basis. So when you suggest that the activity of a normal christian is to seek justice, love and serve others in practical ways that Carter did, or the soccer mom could do, I wonder if it’s sufficient. It’s not a whole lot different to what a whole lot of of other people are doing who aren’t following Christ.
On the other hand, maybe it is sufficient, given that God takes the foolish things and weak things to reveal his secret message. So maybe we don’t have to do “christian” things to infiltrate the kingdom of darkness, maybe we just do whatever our hand finds to do in His name, allowing Him to lead us and guide us, and do whatever it is we do in His love and He takes care of the rest? If this is true, it takes a whole lot of pressure off. And it definitely minimises the volume of church things that we should be doing as well.
Keep up the great work of thinking, talking, and writing. It’s wonderful.

Thanks for your note, and for sharing your story … thank God for people who lend books to others when needed. (Somebody buys them!)
On your question on what’s sufficient – in one sense, I’d say nothing is sufficient … meaning there’s always room and a need for additional growth, you know? But in another sense, everything is sufficient for a good start.
But your question really made me think of how we’re connected. So – imagine a person doing good in a hospital as a caring nurse. Let’s say she doesn’t go to church, etc., herself. Imagine she was inspired to be a caring nurse by her cousin’s stellar example. And perhaps her cousin is a committed Christian was taught to approach her work with a sense of dignity, love, and mission by her youth pastor. If that church wasn’t thriving, it couldn’t hire the youth worker, and the cousin wouldn’t have been taught, and the nurse wouldn’t have been inspired to do the good she’s doing. So, for what it’s worth, I’d keep in mind how we’re all connected. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that grows into a bush so large that the birds of the air can nest in its branches.