How do you tell wrong people that they’re wrong without being wrong yourself?
I’m getting stuck there all the time. The world is not as it should be, and sometimes, somebody, ought to do something about it. It seems though that whenever I’m the one to speak up amidst the silent elephant of wrong in the room, I end up marked as the one in the wrong.
It’s true. Too bold and too soon doesn’t get received well. I guess correction isn’t the only pathway to change either.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” were the words of Jesus (Matthew 7:1). I think I have a lot to learn here still.
So, is a Christian marriage different than every other marriage?
We’re known for saying, “Don’t get divorced.” But does a a cold commitment to not getting divorced actually make for a better marriage? I think we need a little more drive forward than that. After all, Barna studies show that Christian divorce rates match that of the rest of the population.
I also think it’s got to be bigger than drive, and just working harder than the rest. There’s not much gospel to the message: “take more date nights.” I’m sure that helps, but it’s still on me to make the marriage great… which I can botch at any given time?
What about Jesus, when welcomed into the lives of a committed couple, makes a marriage more secure, more alive, more at peace?
I’m reading a biography on Teddy Roosevelt to my boys. He’s one of those man’s man kind of guys, and I’d like them to learn from historical hero’s like that.
One of the stories about Teddy that pulled me in, even though I haven’t crossed it in this particular book yet, regards him as a Sunday School teacher. It wasn’t the warmest moving story about church though. He was asked to step down from teaching children. Apparently one of his Sunday School students had a sister who was being bullied. The boy put up with it for a while, but eventually the boy punched the bully in the nose. As reward for his sense of justice, Teddy gave him a quarter. The church was having none of it.
So what do you teach your kids?
Do you want to teach them to be defenders of justice, or to be patient in long-suffering?
Whether you’re talking churches, para-churches, missional communities or small groups, it never seems to fail that each will emphasize either outreach over discipleship, or discipleship over outreach. I’m doing my best to lead a church that splits it’s time well between the two, but I doubt there will ever be a perfect balance.
Perhaps it’s a chicken vs. the egg kind of thing. You can’t have one without the other, and maybe it’s an idle matter to figure out which one comes first.
As Jesus opens the Sermon on the Mount in Mathew 5:13-20, I think I see the lean toward discipleship as the leading edge. He’s talking primarily about doing outreach – being “salt and light” to a world that needs it. That kind of outreach though starts with one’s personal potency – you have to have the qualities of salt and light, to make the qualitative difference those things are known for.
If we take God at his word, and follow with a strenuously literal interpretation, our nature as disciples won’t be able to help but cause questions; questions that serve as their own outreach, and lead people back to the God who made them.
This past Sunday, Lakepoint Church moved it’s Sunday Service to a parade parking lot. It was pretty much the only way for us as a church body to participate in the parade. Attendance was a little lighter, offering was non-existent, and I don’t even want to know if we had any first time guests at our regular location! Even so, I think it was the right thing to do. We talk so much about being a church for everyday life and everyday relationships, that I feel we just couldn’t hide inside our building while a community parade was going on during Sunday morning service times.
When should you mess with your Sunday service. This is the third time we’ve done it this year. We moved our baptism service to an alternative location in June, and back in March we replaced our Sunday Service by hosting a food-packing service project with Generosity Feeds.
Is it okay to move your service to where your mission is, or do you need some staple consistency from which the creativity flows elsewhere?
I’m still thinking about a few comments and concepts from the Exponential Conference last week. Hoping to figure out where to go with them next:
- Mac Lake said try taking on a new leadership resident – not based on readiness, but willingness.
- Vince Antonucci encouraged people to identify the metaphor, and testimony or two, that captures the mission their church? Sentences don’t become part of the way you think, stories do. Vince also encouraged pastors to really evaluate their services – rock songs and top ten lists are normal, greeting at the door like wal-mart and not explaining text/songs is not.
- Is it about conversion, or adoption?
- Jeff Vanderstelt made you think about how to make missional communities about much more than the structure of the gathering, and instead emphasize the quality of the community and formation.
- Michael Frost used Colossians to discourage pastors from treating everyone like they have evangelistic gifting… and instead treat everyone like they can live a life worth of questions, and be ready to give a response.
- Really loved how Michael Frost and Jeff Vanderstelt represent an all-in posture with God.
Two terrible reasons to plant:
- Because you think it’s trending. There is a rush of enthusiasm around planting, but everyone comes to terms several months in that dozens of people are betting the farm on your leadership toward God. It’s so much pressure to handle, if you were in it for style.
- Because you’re trying to shortcut the developmental process of becoming a lead pastor.
Two terrific reasons to plant:
- Because the Holy Spirit has tied a rope around your heart for this. It should be like Paul, in Ephesus, who couldn’t be dissuaded from going to Jerusalem/Rome. It’s the certainty of that calling that you need to get you through the long-haul.
- Because your church can reach a batch of people far from God that the next church cannot.
Bill planted a church, because he knew that no other church would ever be as radically devoted to evangelism, the way he needed to be to stand before God one day in good conscience.