Our lives are incredibly busy and complex. Between jobs, kids, relationships, neighborhoods, houses, spouses, finances, parents, meetings, sports, clubs, birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, vacations (sometimes planning for vacations can be as stressful as real life)…life is full.
Jesus’ life had rhythms to it as well. I am putting together a message series for the fall that takes us through part of the life of Jesus. It’s amazing to see the variety and rhythm to life we see in him. Between ministry and relationships, teaching and healing, praying and resting, travel and ministry, there is rhythm to His life. Without this rhythm (sometimes we say balance) our lives are less…less effective, less fulfilling, less rewarding, less impactful.
I was reading in Luke 5 for my devotions this week. And in less than a week, we see Jesus teaching large crowds, meeting with an individual for healing, withdrawing to a place alone to pray, forgiving the sins of a broken man, answering the questions of religious leaders, and going to a house party with non-believers. In one short week. Jesus was a master of the rhythm of life.
We all have rhythms to our week. We all face periods of life when one part of our life takes up more of our time and attention than others. Sometimes those periods can last for a decade or more: education, parenting, work. Some rhythms are with us a long time.
Churches have rhythms too.
Churches are complex. Our purpose is eternal…given to us by God. Our culture is ever changing. The truths we teach are eternal. The way people want to listen are ever adjusting. From the types of names we give our churches to building styles, from the type of programs to which translations of the Bible are most commonly taught. Rendering our eternal mission into our changing culture is always a challenge.
Over the next few weeks, we will be encouraging our entire church to take a survey and share your observations about our church, our mission and how we are doing. We have hired a consulting organization to help us decipher your input and see our path more clearly. Your input is invaluable for us to see where we are. When we can see where we are, we can see more clearly the path ahead. Eleven years ago, we brought in this same consulting organization. They helped us form our mission statement and our values. We found their help invaluable. We found your input amazingly insightful. Working together like this gave us direction and focus for a decade of ministry. We all need help to get to where we are going.
This past week, we threw a graduation party for our youngest daughter, Gabby. We set up tents and tables in our backyard. Cooked enough food to feed 300 (okay maybe 1,000). It was an amazing day (until the 30-minute downpour at the end). Everyone was wet, but well fed.
I do the lawn work at our home. I mow our backyard every five days (thanks to the rain and cooler weather this summer). We have an empty field behind our house, and I have been mowing into the field. The last 50 feet of our yard is not really grass. It’s actually just mowed down weeds. As Gabby was decorating some of the tables, she complained that there were pickers out there. She was barefoot (like most teenage girls). I wear thick shoes to mow the lawn. I never really noticed. While I walk that section of the yard every five days, I still don’t really see everything going on in the lawn. I thought the fertilizer would just take care of everything…but some of those weeds have been there longer than my house. So, for about 40 minutes I walked the yard and pulled pickers.
The upcoming months will help us get a better view of what is going on at this moment in our church. From the observations of our leaders, to the directives God gives us, to your experiences here, to what an outside observer (consultant) can see, we hope to weed out what is not good and get ready for a great period of ministry over the next years. It will affirm, adjust, and strengthen our commitment to the ideas that are effective. We want a godly church that is effective, rewarding, fulfilling and impactful.
In the next couple of weeks, you will get some instructions about how to help us with this survey. Please participate. Be in prayer for our church. God has positioned us in our community with incredible resources and drive to make an impact. Let’s pray He clarifies our focus and helps us find ways that we can mature, grow, and reach people.
Every church has a rhythm of ministry that God leads it through. Let’s work and pray as we continue to work with God in the ministry He has led us to. As always, I look forward to serving with you,