I was in the middle of preparing a message on my iPad when all of a sudden, my session was interrupted for an Apple update. Before I thought about it, I hit the “yes” button and my device left for the netherworld of computer mystery. Now, please understand… the device had been working fine. I was satisfied with how things were going; whatever it was doing now was not needed for this tech-challenged older guy.
While awaiting for the machine to beep, light up, go off, or signal some sort of progress, my inspiration was lost. Just when I thought it was finished, I received this message…
“UPDATE FAILED… DEVICE NEEDS TO BE PLUGGED IN TO POWER.”
So, I plugged it in, and apparently the chipmunk inside this thing woke up, and began running once again on the great treadmill of computer efficiency. The waiting, the beeping, and the flashing started over again.
As a longtime sufferer from A D D, I was done. I thought, “Is all of this really necessary?” I guess, in some tech-saavy bastion of computer intelligence, it is. For me? Not so much.
As Senior Pastor of the same church for over three decades, I am constantly getting “updates” from church growth experts, the contemporary church movement, denominations, and visitors who are only interested in the latest trend, style, or buzz words. I mean, here I am in my suit and tie being told to update my ministry. Sure, I see the numbers, and oftentimes they are bigger, better , and added quicker than ours. Huge churches with multiple sites, hip looking leaders with skinny jeans and weird hair… the slick methods are booming. The last 25 years have seemed phenomenal .
So, I am getting the signal on the computer screen of my mind to “update”.
Yet, when I look at these movements with all their positives, I have some cautions in my spirit.
- Where is the Holy Spirit’s voice in all this?
- Are we growing an audience or the Kingdom?
- If these updates are so great, then why are babies still being aborted, division at its worst in decades, and minimum discomfort to the attendees?
- Is 45 minutes start to finish what church is suppose to be? Is cultural relevance and conformity for the sake of numbers dulling the sharp edge of the sword of the spirit?
- Have we lost touch with the New Testament call to discipleship?
- Are we becoming fast food centers in a society that needs spiritual nutrition?
Maybe at this point in time, a reset would be a good option. While giving thanks for all the new tools we have, let us not forget our Biblical foundations. Let us not lose our ancient identity in our eagerness to be relevant . The disciples understood the fact that the church must oftentimes be the counter culture. God’s agenda is always on a collision course with secular governments and culture seeking their own path to enlightenment apart from Him.
We are not called to conform to society.
We are called to transform society.
Our ultimate allegiance is to a greater Kingdom.
So, I will reset and update, but hold fast to sound teaching rooted in Scripture and ancient church traditions.
I have bought a Robert Graham shirt and some casual slacks. It hasn’t helped my looks, but it does prove that I am not a complete relic.