Been a while, I know. There are just those pesky things in life (like jobs, housecleaning) that get in the way of me being able to do what I really want! OK. I can't really blame it on housecleaning...job...yes, but not housecleaning. If you've been to my house lately, well...
OK, I need to focus.
EXCELLENCE! RELEVANCE! These are two of the banners we have hanging from the ceiling in our atrium at Hope. It's what we stand for, but more importantly, it's what God has called us to stand for. There is sometimes so much criticism about a church like ours. You know the argument...loud music (drums, guitars), casual dress, coffee shops, etc. I just don't get it.
I love the fact that there are so many different types of churches and services out there because there are so many different types of people out there. Makes sense to me. God is a God of Excellence. He does ALL things well, and we represent God here on this Earth. Why is it necessary to check your love of good music and your sense of humor at the door when you go to church? We're teaching the same message; it is not diluted in any way.
The days of cookies and Kool-Aid have passed us by. In fact, I would venture to say that never really did speak to kids. I remember growing up in Southern Baptist churches, and for the most part, they were great. You learned the Bible and you fellowshipped (a great Baptist word!) with other Christians. There just never seemed to be a lot of relevance. Churches today are challenged more than ever on how to reach the hurting world that is right around them.
People want to know God is there and that He truly is about love. I love that Hope is so sensitive to that. The services this past Saturday and Sunday were amazing examples of that. We had our 4th Annual Volunteer Fair and it was intense! (check out Mary Ann's blog to read about it - you can find a link on the right of this page). We started a new series called "Full Service In A Self Service World". The stage set was incredible. Bob made a "Goober'sGas -N-Go" station with an old gas pump and tires. We had a vintage car outside with an attendant wiping down the windows and "checking the oil". Awesome! The drama was funny and the actors were top-notch as always. The band's opener was the "Devil Went Down To Georgia"with "Hope-related" lyrics! Melissa Taylor tore up the place with her violin. I'd put her toe to toe with Charlie Daniels any day!
All stuff that is outside the norm for sure. To be relevant, you do NOT have to do these things as a church. I do think you have to really look and see that you are being relevant and excellent in the way God called YOUR church to be. We are different, but we all should be excellent and relevant. We represent the Almighty God.
Check out www.stevenfurtick.com as soon as possible. Steven is Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, the nation's third fastest growing church. Read his "Bless Back Project" entry. It will blow you away and it is absolutely some unconventional stuff for a church to do. They are growing because they are meeting needs and showing the love of God in a way that today's world gets. Same message...different method.