Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lighting Fires or Being Lights?

Since "I heard it through the grapevine" (Welch's, of course) that my last blog caused a few of my members to wonder if I was talking about our church family, let me clear that up quickly with a "NO". It was a generic observation about churches as I have been letting my brain chew on the topic of Church Growth over the last several weeks. I have been especially troubled lately with how far from the Word of God our perceptions and assumptions about church growth have come. I can't help but wonder what Jesus would say. He was far more concerned about the one lone sheep who wondered "away from the fold" that He was with the ninety-nine still there or the nine thousand who could be there.
After a couple centuries of evangelical traditions, followed by the post-war mushrooming science of church growth, it's normal and expected that we will focus on "getting people excited and involved" and "providing the church with a clear vision of who we are and where we are going" (as if Jesus wasn't absolutely clear) Church leaders are forced to meet in long sessions to hammer out "how can we light a fire under this church and attract our community to our services." Yes, for most of my ministry career, I've seen it as my job to create ideas, programs, and ministries, and to offer up "brands" and "slogans" that will ignite the imagination of members, build a sense of excitement, and challenge everyone on to greater works. Some have been good and some haven't. None have ever been sustainable for more than a few years.
Here's where my heart aches. "...love so amazing so divine, demand my soul, my life, my all." Can you even sing that and not feel the tug of truth in that song? If it's true and if we are honest when we sing it, why do we have to spent even thirty seconds discussing how to get church people excited?
Paul said, "The love of Christ compels us," and John said, "We love him because he first loved us". Paul's argument against Christians being cavalier about sin was that grace was so amazing, "how can we who have died to sin continue to live in it?"
I guess the question is, why isn't Jesus enough? Why isn't grace enough? I mean, enough to fire us up to give and do all the "one another" things the Spirit called on us to do when we get together? Enough to make us excited about Him and His family? Enough to cause us to witness for Him when He gives us the opportunity throughout each day?
I know, every one's not "mature in Christ" and many folks need neat ideas, new opportunities, and organized excitement. But still - one of these days - Jesus needs to be enough.


Anonymous said...

Wow. What a lame attempt at an apology. You were out of line before...whether you want to tag it as a generalization or not. Own up to the mistake. That is what a true leader does.

The bottom line is after reading several of your blogs, I am thankful I don't attend your church. The negativity is just not healthy.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as they are ready to face the consiquences of voicing said opinion.

And by the way, the people who are WORKING to teach the children or coordinate events that teach should be commended, not brow-beat for wanting to make improvements... No matter where they sit every week or who their friends are.

Mike Root said...

There was no attempt to apologize because there was nothing to apologize for. It was a clarification. I'm sorry you are reading things between the lines of what I'm writing. My intend in my blog is to make people think not to report on my church family. It's the best church family I've ever been apart of, and I don't think they would say I was negative. Thanks for providing a perfect example of "Sweeping Judgements".

Anonymous said...

Mike, your opinion is what it is. Whether I agree with it or not.

I felt the need to respond as the last post on here was critical and no name was left as to who wrote it.

Talk about lame?

I enjoy reading your thoughts and don't always agree with what you write, but respect what you have to say.

Kyle Holcomb

Phyllis said...

I'm with you on this Mike... I have just ordered the DVD series from City on a Hill entitled "Not A Fan". The promo materials point out that Jesus called us to be FOLLOWERS of Him more than 20 time in the gospels...this series encourages us to become completely. committed. Christians -not just fans (enthusiastic admirers), but willing to take up our crosses and actually FOLLOW Jesus...even when it isn't comfortable.

Can't wait to share it with my Sunday Morning Ladies Class - I'm prayerful that we will become more commitmented to HIM! I want to be able to say with conviction that I AM NOT A FAN!!!

Anonymous said...

So what you are saying, Phyllis, is that if we don't agree with Mike we are not fan's of Jesus? Sorry, not following your line of the conversation.

Phyllis said...

Anonymous, I was responding to thoughts I had while reading the article, not responding to your conversation.