We need to stop being Christians “up to a point” – and give our lives fully to Jesus.
That was the challenging message from U.S. pastor and author Tony Campolo during the Saturday night address to the assembly of BMS World Mission and the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
Relating his point to the financial troubles of the denomination, he said that Baptists must give more and fully commit themselves to Jesus.
“You’re not giving enough – you better start giving. Tithing won’t do it – we can’t start singing about giving one-tenth to Jesus. ¨We need to live out the lifestyle of Jesus. It’s no good raising your arms in a meeting and having a little cry. ‘If you love me,’ says Jesus, ‘you will do whatever I ask.'”
Many people are willing to be Christian “up to a point,” Campolo said. “I’m calling you to go beyond that point. We are called to meet the needs of the poor and stand up for justice. If we’re not willing to do that, we’re going to let this great Baptist movement die.”
But in an address that interspersed anecdotes alongside the direct challenges, and an impromptu rendition of “Turn Your Life Over to Jesus,” Campolo also offered hope, both nationally and individually. He told delegates not to despair that the U.K. is becoming a post-Christian place.
“We are not going to be despondent because the king has one more move!” And Campolo said God could use anyone. “Give yourself to Jesus, and he will not only use you – he will use you in spite of your inadequacies. ‘In your weakness,’ it says.”
Campolo also spoke about the need to surrender to the Holy Spirit. He spoke about giving himself over for 15 to 20 minutes at the start of each day to quiet himself and let the Spirit “flow into me.”
“If the Baptist movement is going to have a future, you need distinctive people who are Spirit-filled,” he said.
“What we need is a church full of people alive in the Holy Spirit.”