Well, as the title suggests this is about my day so far today. Today it seems like has been packed full of stuff...and it's only 1:20pm! Seriously though, this is pretty much how every day is. There are always stories to hear about people when Keith and I get together to talk about the happenings in the QBC body of believers. We talk about prayer requests, happenings at softball games, surgeries, operations, praises, stuff that needs to be done, tasks for the day, the message he's giving Sunday morning, any particular song requests, and so on and so forth.
Today was usual, talking about all the stuff I mentioned above, but today is also different. As I type we have a new sound system being installed in our auditorium. This is an interesting thing in and of itself. There are those who like the idea of more control over our sound, and some who are more opposed. I have found that church buildings are a very fickle thing, and the congregations that govern them are even more so. This is not a bad thing, nor am I complaining. I'm merely stating a fact and an observation that I've noticed. I think that us all being so different is really a wonderful testament to how God works in anyone's life! I mean, I'm so different (most of you are saying "yeah...you're an odd one!") from everyone I know, but they don't even include the people I don't know. Think about it...If we were to consider every person we've ever known or met we'd probably be in the thousands (for number of people). Say you knew and/or met 500,000 people in your lifetime; that's a lot of people! Now, take that number out of how many people live in this world. We're at what, 6.7 billion now? So that leaves us with about 6,600,500,000 people that we've never met, seen, or talked to! The amazing thing about this is that God has the ability to reach every person! I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty cool!
So, back to almost my point in all this. Do you think, on the off chance, that there are other people in the world whose thoughts don't quite line up with yours? I mean, if your friends and acquaintances don't all line up with your thinking 100%, do you think that someone from a different country, lifestyle, and language may think differently than you? Do you think that maybe in your own church congregation there might be someone who disagrees with you in any way whatsoever? I'd venture this answer: "DUH!" Hmmm...I'm battling going on another rabbit trail or staying here...I'll stay here for your sanity.
Now the point, which is simply this: "So what?" So what if you like music louder than the person next to you. So what if you like music quieter than the person next to you. So what if you're older or younger? So what if you prefer the King James version of the Bible? So what if you can't understand what the KJV is trying to say? So what if you don't know what half of the big fancy church words we use mean? So what if the drums are too loud? So what if we're singing a hymn instead of a contemporary song? So what (and this will upset people) if the flag(s) are on the appropriate side of the stage? So what if your church doesn't even flags? So what if someone is sitting in "your seat" this Sunday? So what if you walk in and all you see are a bunch of "blue haired" people? So what if the music is to your liking? So what if the pastor is wearing a 3-piece suit? So what if he isn't? So what if the leaders in the church are spending money on a new building, and you don't agree with it? (have you ever thought, "gee, maybe that's why I'm not in leadership here?") So what if the leaders in the church are spending money on painting the outside of the building? So what if they're trying to make the church look nice so it's more attractive to people? So what if you think this is a wrong approach to ministry?
Do you know what it all boils down to, no matter what? -Because all that matters is JESUS!
Do you understand the necessity of all these differences? -Look at the differences between the disciples who followed Jesus. Though they all thought differently, and all reacted differently, they were striving, though failing like us, to be like JESUS.
Do you understand why the leaders at your church are the leaders at your church? - Because God put them there, and they are striving to follow JESUS!
Do you know why your church building is important in making an impact for God's Kingdom? -Because you MUST reach the community you live in. You MUST reach people like JESUS reached people. You MUST go into Samaria and talk to the woman at the well. You make yourself, your building, and your message applicable to those you are trying to reach! You're (hopefully) not going to speak Aramaic to someone from Japan. You're not going to speak German to your typical American. It doesn't make sense! We must be relevant. I'm not saying water down the message of Christ; far from it actually. But I am saying that we must present that message, the message we've been assigned to reach the ends of the earth with, with clarity. And in order to have clarity, the recipient of the message MUST understand it! How do they understand it? By speaking a language they understand. By being relevant to the culture they are a part of. This relevancy considers the environment they are in, have been a part of, and what they're looking toward.
We, as believers, are all part of this. What has worked in the past may still work, but it's also very likely that we need to break from those traditions and pursue different courses of action in order to be relevant to the community and culture(s) we are trying to reach. Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill church in Seattle has written a book about trying to be relevant to the culture(s) around us in the world today. There are a lot of precautions, though, in trying to reach these people. These precautions are what I will leave you with today, and also a good standard to measure our decision we make every day. The following are from "The Radical Reformission" by Mark Driscoll on page 104:
-Is it beneficial to me personally and to the gospel generally (1 Cor. 6:12)?
-Will I lose self-control and be mastered by what I participate in (1 Cor. 6:12)?
-Will I be doing this in the presence of someone who I know will fall into sin as a result (1 Cor. 8:9-10)?
-Is it a violation of the laws of my city, state, or nation (Rom. 13:1-7)?
-Can I do this with a clear conscience (Acts 24:16)?
-Will this cause me to sin by feeding sinful desires (Rom. 13:13-14)?
-Am I convinced that this is what God desires me to do (Rom. 14:23)?
-Does my participation proceed from my faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 14:23)?
-Am I doing this to help other people, or am I just being selfish (1 Cor. 10:24)?
-Can I do this in a way that glorifies God (1 Cor. 10:31-33)?
-Am I following the example of Jesus Christ to help save sinners (1 Cor. 10:33-11:1)?