Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It doesn't matter what we Say...or does it

The more the words the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?" 
Ecclesiastes 6:11

We've been using words around our church for the past year or so like these; 

  • Think Orange
  • Foyer - Living Room - Kitchen
  • Small Groups
  • Environments
  • Discipleship Path

We use others too; mission, vision & core values.
I like the words we are using.  They are great words.  
As we have spoken them we have experienced motivation and excitement. We have experienced confusion too.  We have seen implementation of ministries from these words.  We have also seen ourselves struggle to engage with some of the words.
Too many of them and they lose their meaning.
Not enough of them and we will not realize all that we can be and do.

More on that in a moment.  For now, look at this guy's head...Tell me he's not a candidate to be my forehead twin!

His name is Seth Godin.  I read his blog.
I saw this entry from his blog over the weekend,
It's a lot easier for an organization to adopt new words than it is to 
actually change anything.  
Real change is uncomfortable.  If it's not feeling that way, you've probably 
just adopted new words.

Um, can anyone say "North Branch Wesleyan Church"?
If you are hanging around you know there is some change in the vocabulary.  But beyond the vocabulary we are using there are changes of implementation in our ministries.  And it feels funky!  It feels out of whack!  It even feels like...like, can't we just do what we used to do.

It doesn't matter what we say.  At least not entirely.
Our actions must match our words.

Another quote.  It's not my quote but if you want to think I'm brilliant you can attribute it to me anyway.  The quote asks of churches, "Is what's written on the wall happening down the hall?" (Andy Stanley said that.)

Hear it?  Is what is written in our mission, vision and core values happening in the hallways, classrooms and homes of our church?

The Book of James says this about hearing the Word of God.  
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Those who listen to the word but do not do what it says are like people who look at their faces in a mirror and, after looking at themselves, go away and immediately forget 
what they look like. 
James 1:22-24

God's word is not only to be heard but followed up with action.
As our church takes steps that are in accordance with God's word and purpose (ie, to seek and save the lost, and to baptize and disciple believers) it would seem that we too must hear the words of our church vocabulary and do them.

Perhaps it's good that we feel a little uncomfortable and uneasy.  Perhaps we should look at our vocabulary AND actions and see how they line up.  Perhaps I should stop now.  'Cuz like a wise man once said, too many words and what does that profit anyone?

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Gathering

I'm in the Jacksonville airport this morning waiting to fly home after The Gathering, a conference for Wesleyan pastors and spouses. Jamie and I were debriefing last night after our last session and we asked, "What was the best part for you?" Normal question. At the time, I wasn't sure.

We laughed a lot, had great meals, caught up with people we know from Wisconsin and Indiana, met new friends, spent time with her parents, worshiped with Paul Baloche, and sat under the teaching of people like Gary McIntosh, Michael Smalley, Wayne Schmidt, Keith Loy, Brenda Sadler McNeal, and Mark Batterson. 

Last night, Mark Batterson said, "There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of before." He spoke about how as children, we use more of our right brain imagination, and as we grow older, we use more of our left brain logic and memory. Result: We start operating out of re-doing the past instead of imagining new ways of doing church for the future. He says it is crucial that we take the time to imagine a future where we accomplish the same goals (seeing lost people saved and the kingdom come) in new ways. 

I'm challenged by that. And I'm also encouraged. I believe we are using our imagination well at NBWC as we think orange. We're accomplishing the same goals (seeing children and teens saved, seeing families thrive under Jesus' lordship, seeing the community transformed as we partner with parents) in new ways. 

God's best is yet to come!