Adventures In Missing The Point?
My Tribe can be a most peculiar people.
We’ve spent a lot of time arguing about music. I’ve heard worship leaders talk about the need for technical excellence and top-notch talent and I’ve heard worship leaders talk about stripping away all pretense and electricity and go for whatever it is they mean by authenticity. I’ve heard seminary professors get all haughty about “7-11 choruses” (7 words 11 times, ha ha ha) and I’ve heard students harp on the importance of repetition as a teaching tool. I’ve been a part of meetings where we spent an hour discussing song selections and the order they’ll be sung. Don’t get me started on whether the power point slide should be a solid color or if there should be a shadow of a person standing on a mountain facing the sunrise with their arms outstretched.
We’ve spent a lot of time using phrases like “seeker sensitive” and “seeker driven” and “purpose driven” and “emergent” and all sorts of subtle nuances all around and through similar verbage. Should we have a program that allows those that come to have fun so they’ll feel at home and they’ll come back a lot and then, hopefully, they’ll get some good stuff and stay? Should we just be about our mission and just have the Lord’s Supper and baptisms and church services? Should our room be light and airy with contemporary pop praise or should it be dark and candlelit with an air of acoustic mystery? If we go somewhere in-between will we alienate everybody?
We spent a lot of time trying to stay organized. Gotta communicate better. Gotta have a way for visitors to feel welcome. Gotta get the web site more accessible. Gotta hammer through the role of deacons. Gotta determine what each elder’s ministry area will be. Gotta determine the strengths and weakness of the staff so we can get the right people in the right seats on the bus so we can stay afloat through the paradigm shift. Gotta get job descriptions nailed down. Gotta have team unity and bonding.
This morning I read 1 Peter for the final time before I teach it tomorrow to my high schoolers.
Here’s what got me:
1:13ff: “Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, because I am holy.’ And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence. You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake. Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.
It hit me that sometimes my Tribe can overcomplicate things.
It hit me that sometimes my Tribe can focus on things that don’t matter much.
It hit me that sometimes my Tribe is pretty intense and passionate about chasing the wind.
All in all it’s pretty simple:
Set your mind on eternity because we’re pilgrims and strangers here.
Live well, because an abundant life in Christ is the ultimate apologetic.
Love with the proper motivation of thanks for His grace.
And if we just teach the Word of God…
…seems the Holy Spirit will grow folks in His time in His way.
This ain’t rocket science…even if we try to make it rocket science.
J. Vernon McGee said it best: “My friend, we need the preaching and teaching of the Word of God above everything else. I do not mean to minimize the place of music, the place of methods, and the place of organization, but there is absolutely no substitute for the Word of God today.”