The discussion I’ve had over these past few days is one that could be continued “ad infinitum” but I will bring it to a close today. Perhaps later in the year, I’ll put another related series but for now let me say thanks to each of you who’ve responded here on the blog, on my facebook page, and through private emails. My goal was simply to bring to the table some thoughts that have been swirling through my mind of late as I once again get set to cast the vision of our church plant to our folks in another week.
One thing I believe is certain. The American church has a hunger for the finer things in life. Now not EVERYONE shares that hunger but as a whole, we tend to want things our way and with all the bells and whistles to accompany it. This is where my heart aches when I consider what it is I need to model for my congregation. I see value in video sermons, just not every week. I see value in congregations expanding into new worship centers, provided there is adequate leadership. I don’t even mind the church adding tools to communicate the gospel more effectively, provided those tools don’t become the object of our worship rather than the message they are used to proclaim. Too many pastors are worried about whether or not they have enough to “keep up”. In spreading themselves thinner in order to accomodate that “stuff”, they rob themselves of the vital relationship they need with Jesus and our Heavenly Father in order to be strengthened enough to proclaim victory as we are called to do. This cuts the very heart of God’s Holy Spirit that lives in believers and requires this time for our own good. Stifle the Trinity and you stifle your life as a minister and are merely preaching words and not proclaiming life.
The type of passion we are talking about can be manifested in a small, simple setting without PowerPoint and without a band or it can be effective with a solid PowerPoint and wonderful Christian Praise that exalts God. The key is to identify what we REALLY want. If we say we want biblically literate folks, then we will make some decisions that will cause others to leave our church. The reality is there’s enough churches out there tickling ears and preaching a thin gospel that the folks who want that type of worship will find it. The problem is those people generally will grow dissatisfied and within a year or so, will leave that church to try to find another. In one of the comments posted on this series, Jason Taylor from the “Vertical Church” in Yuma, Arizona rightly pointed out that we must teach our congregation to be self-feeders of the Word of God if we are to bring about solid, lasting change.
How much is too much? This whole series started as a concept in my mind when I read about a church preparing to build a helicopter ramp for its pastors. It’s not my place to criticize another man’s ministry. Can I observe and ask questions? Yes. That’s a different animal altogether. Does a church need a helicopter pad? I’m not sure but I really believe that type of money could be used to plant another church, establish a ministry to widows who are in need, or build a church building in a third world country.
I want my congregation to be one that actively gets their hands dirty without worrying about the dirt under their fingernails. The time we gather to worship is important if we are to walk out of the building and become the servant leaders God asks us to be. It doesn’t matter if your uniform of choice is a suit and tie or Dickies work clothes. The expectation God has for his children is equal. As leaders, we are to prepare our people for this work. That is what the bible says quite clearly. Are we making this our first priority? Or are we more worried that the donuts we serve on Sunday are genuine Krispey Kremes rather than Wal-Mart’s knockoffs?
Tomorrow, I will post my usual linkfest. Next week, my subject shifts slightly to church growth and what are the best ways to grow? I can’t wait to see what type of dialog those posts will bring.
Be blessed and thank you for stopping by again!