Happy New Year to all! To any new readers, welcome. This is an actual blog that has an actual writer who has taken a really long break while adjusting to a whole bunch of change in the past 12-13 months. For all of you, old friends and new, I went through a long season where I felt like I didn’t really have anything to say. That is a terrible season. As I’ve made some adjustments to my life and finally found my groove, I’m realizing that I wasn’t quite done yet.
One would hope that I would have a great love for the church, seeing that I spend anywhere between 50-80 hours there weekly. You would be correct, I absolutely love Bridges Community Church. I still can’t believe that I’m blessed to be a part of such an awesome team. It’s overwhelming sometimes. But outside of the sheer joy of working at a church, I still love the church because of what she represents. The church has a specific purpose in the eyes of Christ and that’s a pretty special thing in my mind. The church has done a great job of being strategically and aggressively placed throughout the church and even the world. That is one of the main reasons why I love the church. We got part of what we were supposed to do really well. We have gone out into the world (Matthew 28:19) and made space for ourselves and given ourselves a platform to be heard. Even here in California, there are a plethora of churches. Nothing like my years living in the Bible belt, but there are still churches in the Bay Area.
Secondly, I love that churches are continuing to fight through the adversity that we knew would come because of whom we choose to follow. I am always amazed at the people who are looking for this saving from hardships and “Best Life Now” mentality after becoming a Christian. The struggle to follow Christ is a real and well documented one. As this world and the people in it continue to evolve, it will get harder and harder to shine the light of Christ in the ever deepening darkness. But the church for the most part realizes that the light of Christ is a saving one and cannot be extinguished. As a result, we push forward.
We still have the ability to be relevant. I know some people could care less about relevancy, and I also know that the desire to stay relevant can be a very slippery slope if not handled delicately. However, I love how a lot of churches have dedicated time, money and manpower to making sure they are doing whatever is available to them to reach people for Christ. I love looking at the ways churches are using technology and social media to expand their reach. I like to see how they are creating awesome spaces on their campuses that are interesting and engaging. I love how they are constantly moving forward while staying true to the groove that works for them.
I guess this is as great a segue as any, but all of these things are some of the reasons why I get frustrated with the church as well. There is a fine line between relevancy and the Keeping Up With the Joneses mentality. It bothers me when sometimes you can’t tell if it’s church or a concert. It bothers me when we disguise the Word so heavily that people aren’t sure what we are talking about and who we stand for. It bothers me when we lose our edge and stop becoming aggressive in reaching people. Not aggressive in the Turn or Burn kinda way, but more in the Come Because Our Building is Nice and Shiny and We Aren’t Really In The Position to Chase You And It’s Really Better This Way kinda way. When we become so inward focused that we find it uninteresting to even associate with non-Christians accept for to “get them right”.
Ultimately, I still love the church because Christ still loves the church. In my desire to be like Him, I want to love the things that He loves. At Bridges we are taking some major steps this new year to refocus the lens a little to make sure that we are looking at the right things. I believe that our new Breaking the Mold campaign has the ability to be very influential in getting us to turn our eyes back toward the ones we need to be looking at. I’m also (naturally) excited about our focus for worship this year. Personally, I had been dealing with some jaded feelings towards church and worship this past year, and it was causing me to have real negative outlooks on the whole process. I have had to also take some time to refocus and look at who I am and what I’m supposed be doing. I didn’t feel like I was doing this, but Stephen Miller‘s book, Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars, gave me some renewed focus. Hopefully, I can speak to more of that in the days to come.
I’m excited about this year for my personal church, and the church in general. We have another awesome opportunity to share the light of Christ in this dark world and be effective in setting ourselves apart from without alienating. The Word of God never changes. The Blood will never lose its power. When the church keeps those things in the forefront, that’s when she is effective in doing her job. I’m excited about that this year. What about you?