“Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.” Cowboy Wisdom
I’m continuing a series of blogs on things I saw and learned during our vacation in January on a cruise ship.
One of the things we hope to enjoy when we go cruising is the on-board entertainment. The entertainment on the ship was very good, notably the dynamic and extremely talented young people who put on the Vegas style shows. But one thing stood out. The floor was packed but the balconies were vacant.
I was shocked.
One of the shows featured some magic tricks, very good ones in fact. In the midst of their fast-paced music and exquisite choreography, they did these slight-of-hand tricks there were quite impressive.
No one applauded.
They were the kind that you’ve seen on television several times. Apparently it was a “been there, done that” crowd. What a shame. They did it so well.
I hate to even think this way, but how could someone think they were not good enough?
This kinda makes me think about current trends in church. Church for baby boomers has been all about excellence and new stuff. Of course this leads to problems when everyone has seen it all before.
It is interesting the things we go through to present a 2,000 year old message. Perhaps this present generation of millennials, who no doubt have a liking for doing things well, but will reject all of it if it is not genuine.
Pastors across this country are struggling with getting younger people into the church without alienating the older folks. One of the things I did to move the churches I served forward was to introduce a band that played more progressive music. I used to say to those who didn’t like the new music, “Twenty years from now I’m going to hate the music but love what it does for our grandchildren.”
I think I’m getting closer to that twenty year mark…and that pains me. Am I not good enough?
My current job has forced me to take a “one beggar to another” approach in sharing the 2,000 year old message of the gospel of Jesus. I have no fog machines or special lighting, no band or coffee bar with a hipster pulling shots. It’s just me, the other person and the Holy Spirit.
The funny thing is, slowly but surely it’s working.
Pastor, be creative! YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH! Do whatever it takes to reach people in your community. Church attender; help your pastor try new “stuff,” even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. But may all of us remember that eternity is written on our hearts and those who would listen, and that’s more than good enough.
What kind of church would you attend? One that focuses on music, the hipster, the special lighting or story-telling preaching style? Is it one where there is excellence or authenticity? What about one where the focus is old school with a choir and all of the “normal” programs and style of a traditional church? Remember that being “traditional” has more to do with being within our culture and not one seen in the Bible. What attracts you? Friends? Life stories? Mission? Why?
“Anybody who tells you that, you know, you’re on the back nine or starting to get to the end when you’re 55 years old, don’t believe them because that turned out to be the start of the best time in my professional life. There’s no question about it.”
Former New York Yankee Manager Joe Torre, Undeniable with Joe Buck, 8.31.16
“Some businessmen are saying that this could be the greatest Christmas ever. I always thought the first one was.” – Art Fettig
“The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.” – Billy Graham
Okay, I couldn’t help myself – I began a Sunday morning’s message at my last church with this story:
A man in Phoenix calls his son in New York a couple of days before Thanksgiving and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty five years of misery is enough.
‘Pop, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.
We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,’ the father says. ‘We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.
‘Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. ‘No way that’s going to happen on our watch!’ she shouts, ‘I’ll take care of this.’
She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at her father, ‘You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?’ and hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. ‘Okay honey,’ he says, ‘they’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way!’
As you can imagine, everyone laughed…and all the seniors looked at each other and nodded knowingly. Wonder how many out-of-town kids are going to get “divorce manipulation notices?”
Have a great Thanksgiving week!
“Always drink upstream from the herd…Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.” Will Rogers