Authentic community (family) is what we all seek. A faith community must above all be authentic and honest. It’s focus must be on Jesus Christ and the great commission. Social services are not optional but neither are they the goal. If the seeker sees men first and foremost it is difficult, nearly impossible, to see the good news clearly. We must not be obstacles.
Friend asked about black churches, democrats, and D vs R “theology” this am. I responded this way.
Political party affiliation really has nothing to do with Christianity. Period. Worldview and politics are best rendered and focused to Caesar. I love attending “black” churches and all Great commission focused churches. There are plenty, look to left, look to right... and then focus UP. Philippians 4 addresses it perfectly.
For record: All have sinned and fall short of glory. We are saved by Christ... not by govt or politics... or Caesar.
Unity of purpose in great commission does not require uniformity of action. Period. It is a hard reality for all sides. I do not need to understand actions and choices of others if I’m focused on God and my assigned mission. Where I am. As I am. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat.
The choir and collective singing is in the heart of worship. It is powerful, indicting, and comforting, but not always comfortable. Your congregation is essentially a choir. The recent pandemic crisis has restricted almost all communal singing due to the numbers, aerosol science speculations, fear, and the reality that Covid is a serious and dangerous disease for many choral singers due to age, comorbidity and a whole series of issues and complications born out of congregating together.
Is worship suffering? Yes it is.
Are churches growing in the midst of this crisis? Not in nickels and noses that I can see. but maybe in other ways.
My premise is that the absence of congregational and choral singing has reminded us all of how important worship is to our wellbeing. It also exposes a critical gap in many churches engagement models. Fellowship, Sunday School for kids and adults, Bible Study, and Service projects are the lifeblood of our churches.. Worship is a reflection of service.. in a service. It is the lens, the metric, to evaluate our health. When we are faithful and submit to serve and love others… Worship will showcase our hearts.
We must sing together and share songs. This is about more than physical singing. It is about example. Singing is uncomfortable for many because it is an outward and public sharing of heart. This exposes us, and makes us vulnerable. We are so lucky that God covers us.
Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.
The Covid crisis has wrecked our traditional idea of church. We used to focus on massive buildings, and huge groups assembled all at one time in one place, sitting together, consuming together like a restaurant.
To succeed going forward, I believe we need to take some lessons from the past, adapt them at a core foundational level, and step out. In place of signs and huge buildings, we do need parking lots and drive through services. (As a concept). More service to more people is best managed by using our buildings as kitchens. Tools, supplies, appliances, and people are there but the goal is to take the actions out into the parking lot, and even do delivery. We MUST meet people where they are and live with them and consume life and God’s blessings with them. We can no longer expect them to walk through the door and take a seat.
Our internet presence and communications capabilities must be primary and funded to help with real-time and non real time connections.
We must invest and manage contacts and delivery at scale. We can use our personal experiences to simply answer the question... this is how i do it, no matter the question. No judgement. No question is off limits. Our example aligns with our words and our community sees us as we are. Broken and imperfect but loved and loving.
Then they can see Jesus and not just us when they look through the windshield. Soon, they may come through the door and start serving with us. We can help with that and we must.
Curb service was always cool. Roller skate and motorcycles and hot rods in the parking lot. It can be again and it can serve the Lord. I believe this is the way.
Every group, family, and relationship has cracks. Here is the thing. When that foundation stone is under intense pressure, it is NOT possible to repair the cracks. If nothing is done, then cracks will widen and eventually the foundations will crumble completely leaving a disaster zone for everything, and everyone connected. The problem to manage is repair, without driving wedges into the cracks and making the problem worse.
In our world today, our families, our churches, our institutions are under immense pressure. Cracks which have been present forever, are being stressed and widened. Many of these “institutions” will suffer catastrophic failures. As a leader in my family, in my church, it is my job to care for the entire system. I seek to repair the cracks, or at least fill them. HOW?
First, I use time to remove pressure and then I find the strong pieces, and use them to carry the load for the weaker sections as we add strength.
The mortar is love, but the solution requires more than simply loving and accepting. It is a balancing act of stress and relief, communication and care and accountability for change. Understanding the true pillars of the foundation is a required step. For me, that is faith and commitment to God.
As a family comes apart, there are flex points.. fulcrums and pressure points. The process is the same for bring one together. We must accept the cracks, and seek to fill them so that we can lift one another and shore up the foundation.
Disagreements must not be allowed to move to contempt.
Actions and decisions affecting the “whole” must take into account the needs of the individuals.
People are equal. Ideas and solutions are not. Decisions and actions separate but they also unite when connected to a shared purpose. Unity of purpose does not require uniformity of action, but it does require a shared understanding and direction.
FAMILY. FAITH. These are flawed and cracked… but the foundations rooted in stone, rather than sand will stand the pressure… and by working together, we can find a way to avoid collapse. IF… we choose to do so.
For me, it is unacceptable to see the coming failure and do nothing, but doing something must not spread divide and weaken the whole. We must agree on the definition of the whole.
The vision to move on with life embracing faith and fellowship over fear and isolation threatens the houses of sand for many in power. Reputation, position, even authority is shifting. A powerful vision. evokes fierce opposition from many who are comfortable and just want to return to how it was “before”.
Our times are a chrysalis. We will emerge and fly soon enough. God is in command and evolving HIs space and time around us as He decides. We are changing and when we live in Him we are remade...literally. EVERYTHING CHANGES.
Tutto cambia. Vedo la luce.
Will you seek a future filled with faith and hope, rooted in love? Now is the time to decide. Don’t be one of the millions who is acting a part, performing for man rather than worshipping a loving and living God.
The loss of choral singing is crippling our families, churches, schools, and society in general. #ChoirIsLife - Singing soothes the savage beast of our souls.
Tech and AudioVisual personnel are the new normal linchpins. EVERY institution needs competent, professional, execution and delivery architecture.
In the RONAreality of 2020+ leaders better pay them and love them and respect them. Period.
Church leaders and members. Let’s come to grips with what virtual church 2020 is. Your staff is producing a 30-60 minute weekly TV show for you with a full on participatory expectation. It must be designed and engineered so that you, the “members” can consume it on a television set, a PC, an iPad, an iPhone or any of a myriad of Android devices all concurrently and still be available asynchronously. In the near future this exercise will include alignment and integration with live in person on premise services and connections to ongoing online engagement via the web page and meeting/collaboration demands. The audio/visual/networking demands are staggering.
Are you providing your staff the tools and support that they need? Does this new delivery expectation have the people you need for content creation and execution? Skills? To sustain? - Who is doing all of this WORK?
These are serious questions. Thriving churches will answer them now before the crisis.
How to be a trusted advisor. Know how to do things. Teach well. Communicate broadly. Commit to results. #SkinInGame integrity coupled with knowledge and experience changes the game. From companies to churches to families and friends.
Talk is cheap. Results at scale over duration showcase true professionals and expose the pretenders.
I am pleased that churches are being ALLOWED to reopen their physical facilities. If Walmart, Lowe’s, and food stores can be operated safely, Churches and schools can as well. The arbitrary lockdown for the greater good has passed its time of effectiveness.
Reality is that Elderly, and At Risk members of churches must decide for themselves what the priorities are. We ALL must do this without judgment and condemnation. To continue to lockdown and isolate the healthy and low risk majority is not sustainable or reasonable by my standards. Worship and community fellowship is ESSENTIAL to life. Period.
This is how it has always been and how it will always be. You choose what you do and how you do it when free will is prioritized.
Right now our health system is on the front lines. Coming very soon, the economic devastation wrought by our Covid19 response will begin to escalate. Abuse, hunger, depression will all flow freely. The government is not best positioned to fight this war.
The local church can and will step into the spotlight. We can help one another. We will help one another. We must set the example beyond words with actions and resources.
The LOCAL church has always been on the front lines. It will remain so. Get in the fight and make a difference. You have skills and resources. Use them where you are, how you are. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat.
Food, Fellowship, Faith, Friendship... are the FRONT LINES to fight the epidemic of fear, depression, violence, and poverty now and in the near future. We as a society have chosen these problems over the acute fear of Covid19... That decision is behind us, right or wrong. There are new battle lines in front of us. My question is, how will we respond in my church? How will your church respond?
Soldiers fight... Step up! Stand and be counted. Christians should not be fearful and must be on the front lines. Onward Christian soldiers....
We can all do ministry online and it doesn’t have to be all the time or all the same. It is fundamentally different to approach your community digitally, authentically, and in their world rather than the controlled and constructed world of a church building. A kingdom way of living is about living in a kingdom way in the world but not of it.
We are ALL ministers of the Gospel as believers. Like the disciples we have good days, and bad. Those days are more obvious in an always on real-time digital community. We still need to meet face to face and we will need to continue meeting online as well. The world has changed. Jesus brings us together if we choose His path. We all doubt. We all struggle. It is okay. We are also all here as beloved first born children of Christ. Each one of us is in His world not ours. Consider that God created the internet just as he ordains all things. It is a tool and should/must be used as all tools, carefully and powerfully. How we use it matters.
Authentic, honest, humble, proud, to influence, to learn, to listen... to Be. Love. Serve. Repeat. As we are. Where we are. When we are. Embrace old ways and new ways to DO and BE Christ in His world. Believe.
5 IMPORTANT THOUGHTS!
1. CHOOSE now to lock down and isolate yourself and your family. (if you do not, the government WILL do it for you) The USA is a free country, but those freedoms are subject to restriction in times of crisis. This is why your Votes matter so much...
2. HELP others... money, skills, perspective.. If you can, you should. PERIOD. If we all step up, it WILL matter.. reliance on the government will fail... as systems always do.
3. Pray, Connect, Engage GOD in your daily life... connect to a church family virtually NOW... It is an ESSENTIAL service from you and to you.
4. Stop listening only to politicians and news media... Make decisions for yourself... based on a set of experts that you trust.
5. BE ACTIVE physically... every day... walk, build, sing, play. If you choose to sit on your butt in front of the TV you are weakening your body and increasing your likelihood of bad outcomes in every way.
BE. LOVE. SERVE. REPEAT. and share this advice if it inspires you..
Goal: Growth and spiritual development occur in community and context
"I am amazed again and again how the mastery of successive minute technical details releases floods of spiritual understanding."
Robert Shaw in "Dear People"
"Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other." - Mere Christianity CS Lewis
Don’t I need to worry about keeping my church intact/alive/functioning?
The institution cannot be considered above the mission... Pharisees thought otherwise... The institution must serve and enable the mission of the one and the many. The institution must serve the one and the many or it must cease to exist.
Choices persist and remain every day for each us.
Do we choose to sustain the institutions and traditions or the mission? Balance is required of course. BUT, we must beware the call of institutional and collective power over the free will of individuals. Each of us must choose the mission and serve as we are enabled and made. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat.
My assessment of your ability is related to my experience with others doing the same job and my desire for greater things. I don’t apologize for standards. I want you to do better.
To Worship and Lead WORSHIP dynamically and authentically.
I have a deep seated animosity directed at “disablers”
- those so willing to make things harder, point out their concerns, fixate on semantics and process points ... make every point about what they want
—- yet unwilling to step up and lead and create and build.
Complaining, whining, and disabling undermine the very foundation of group progress. #fighty.
- church, government, choirs, families...
the disabler list is easy to find inside dying organizations/institutions all around.
Demand for urgency of action after months and years of apathy = Ignored
— solutions for change management professionals are exceedingly complex. Every decision and action has a consequence. Notes: Not acting is an action whether intentional or not. We are all change management professionals whether we like it or not.
To ignore may be the most profound action of all...
#MondayMusing on tech, collaboration, teaming, family, governance and results!
Doing more does not create successful outcomes. It isn’t enough.
Quality and focus are required for all activity. The assumption that every action is equal in results is a gigantic fallacy.
Quality and Quantity are NOT the same thing.
Every choice takes a toll and and every action requires resource expenditure.
Grown Ups choose and focus.
Children want everything and even attempt everything, and ultimately fail and diminish all.
Knowing is not enough. Good intentions are not enough.
Results are loud and clear markers. Doing the right things in the right amount with focus and excellence is how things change.
Church. Family. Business : Strategy is same.
QUALITY IS INDEED JOB#1
I’m convinced that Pastors often preach to themselves and the rest of us just listen. On that, do they listen to their own sermons? I wonder as I wander... from service to service, denomination to denomination... day to day.
We all hear what we choose regardless.
Listening is the key. Talking less helps. It isn’t a coincidence that Silent Night and Holy Night are so impactful. Holiness is most often associated with stillness and listening to God and for God in the still small voices. Do you hear what I hear? ... and bells.
I love bells and candles. The fire and the piercing nature sing into the silence.
Crisis of leadership coin has two sides. On one side, we have a dictator, despot, tyrant, catalyst... on the other we have a passive, do nothing, no change, marking time, retired, elder, idealist... - when either of these conditions manifests, the people suffer and fail. Intentions can be benevolent or malevolent. It matters not. Balance must be achieved in the middle for progress. In our churches and government we tend more towards a swinging pendulum... side to side... perhaps this is an ecclesiastical ekklesia...
A crisis of leadership is repaired when the people unify under a singular purpose... and begin working towards a Goal (normally outlined and clarified by a leader) - the solution lies in the working... not in the vilification or discussion of what has always been done, how it has always been done, etc.. Making more problems doesn't solve the pressing problem.
Central question for church leaders remains. What are you teaching in your example and in your words. They must match.
Your congregation sees and knows and yearns for a direction and progress. If they only feel vilified, guilty, and attacked... nothing changes.
Jesus teaches and models love and redemption, and grace... via action, and choice... He models an active love, not retired, not tired, not passive, not by proxy, or by checkbook. Each one of us is specific, beloved, and required..
If and when we are divided, we can unify by working together on one thing, building relationships, then working together on another thing, building more relationships, etc... This cycle is the only one that works..
I've been pretty frustrated at the lack of execution by so many ministers including my own of late. Such wonderful ideas, so little action, such dependence on a "system" or "others" for action, such eviscerating opinions in their sermons presenting veiled attacks on personal political views of both sides collectivism vs individualism. As an individual committed to making a difference this decision to implement social initiatively force through the government is anathema to me.
Any minister fixated on the government’s power to implement morality and Christian “policy” is missing the reality of Jesus’ examples. Preaching a theocracy based collective autocracy model is not biblical.
We must choose to Be Love and Serve. Cheerfully. On a journey. With full armor and faith in our personal relationship with GOD. Not government.
Intersection of principles and practices...