Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Critical Change for Trinity....

Trinity is definitely in a time of transition and going through a lot of changes.  If you have been around us at all, you would know that our life as a church has been turned upside down and the Lord is really shaking us out of our comfort zone...but that is not a bad thing!  We are truly excited about all that is going on and are looking forward to whatever He has in store for us.   We have joked about being blessed as one of the "richest, homeless churches in America."

Our Strategy Team and Building Teams have been reading Tim Cool's book, Why Church Buildings Matter and it has helped us evaluate what we should be looking for in terms of facilities for our church body in the days ahead.  This is a fantastic book and I would certainly recommend all of our church members read it as we seek the Lord's will for where our church should move.  While certainly the location and type of facilities we will have are forefront on everyone's mind at this time, I want us to use this time of transition to look at the health of our church and other changes that need to be made.  After reading Tim's recent blog (below), I can't help but think that if we are going to be all that God has called us to be, then we have to change one very important thing about our church - and I believe it is this same thing that all churches struggle with today....



ism image
I was recently leading a workshop for a conference in Texas on Organizational Culture and how it communicates a story…similar to how our facilities communicate a story.  As part of the Q & A time, I was asked a question I have never been asked before.  It caught me a little flatfooted, but got my mind racing.
The question was – “If you could change one thing in ‘church’ today, what would it be?”
Wow…what a loaded question.  I paused while my mind tried to function like Tianhe-2, the worlds fastest super-computer.  The bytes were flashing through my head so fast you could almost see smoke coming from my ears.  I was processing things like:
  • Stop world hunger
  • Stop all wars
  • Stop injustice
  • Stop bickering on Bible Translations
  • Elimination of red carpet and purple pews in churches
  • The unification of denominations
  • etc, etc, etc.
My thoughts ranged from altruistic to humanitarian to downright outrageous.
But then it hit me with clarity I have rarely experienced.
We had just completed a discussion on being contextual…abandoning the unproductive rhetoric of “contemporary vs. traditional”. That discussion, about contemporary or traditional, is really a treatise on personal preference…which is actually a form of an “ism”….“me-ism”.
That was it!!!!  That is the one thing I would change if I could.  I would eradicate me-ism.
According to Wikipedia, me-ism is defined as “a focus on, or obsession with, oneself”.  Another website says it is “the error of exaggerating the value of one’s own point of view”.
My response became crystal clear and intentional.  Whether we are debating guitars and drums vs. an organ, or the KJV vs. the NIV or NLT, or if a steeple is more spiritual than a shopping center sign, or whether we should wear ties vs. flip-flops, it is all me-ism. These all represent personal preferences. Some based on our past experiences and others based on our current context….but they are about ME!
Can you image what a different church (and world) we would live in if we could abandon our me-ism for “you-ism”, “other-ism” and “Christ-ism”?
Next time you get embroiled in a silly debate about hymnals, pew color, instrumentation, when the offering should be received, tattoos, dress codes and which day to worship, step back and determine if it is merely me-ism.
Step out and be a me-ism killer!
PS:  This is as much for me as you. Like Paul, I am the greatest of sinner.