Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Fresh Look

The following is a recent article written by Carlos Whittaker and was published by Worship Leader Magazine.

The common misperception is that if something works for a while, it will work forever.

This is commonplace in the Church because when we see with our God given eyes, a person go from lost, without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, to a fully devoted follower of Christ, we become attached to our practices. We become blinded by the joy that we feel in that moment. And although the moment is celebrated by angels surrounding the Lord himself, I'm sure even the angels know that things have to change in order to keep reaching the lost.

Take Billy Graham for example. He lived out his ministry in a culture that was void of the media that currently assaults our senses everyday. Billy could lead thousands to the Lord in a white tent, with one microphone, and the Word of God.


I know what you are thinking. That is all it should take. Well I can tell you that Billy's parents were probably thinking that the suit, white tent, and microphone were too much. Jesus didn't need a microphone when he fed the 5,000.

Do you see where I am going? In order to keep the Gospel message of Jesus Christ fresh, you do not need more. But you do need change. Innovation means something new. Not something louder, brighter, or sexier. New for your church might be going back to a tent revival. Imagine that. Simplicity and the Word of God. I honestly believe that we have programmed church attendees to only be moved by the complex. So when we keep adding layers, we keep adding noise. Silence may be the loudest thing that you can do for your congregation.

Kill the Clichés

There are plenty of practical things you can implement in order to keep the Gospel fresh without resorting to clichés.

First we must define "fresh." We are not talking Will Smith and Marky Mark. We will define "fresh" for our use as "keeping attention on Christ." I know that might seem simple, but your robotic nature has plenty of your congregants in a coma.

There is no pat answer for avoiding clichÇ. It takes extra care and intentionality by each and every person involved in the creative process. But for us worship leaders, I think we can keep things fresh by doing a couple of simple things.

1. Remove "safety" from your Sunday service ideals.

Safety is important when it comes to keeping my children alive or making sure I stay on the right side of the road. There are boundaries set in place for us to achieve that. Laws. Painted white lines. And did you know that Scripture also paints lines in the road for us when it comes to worship? These should be the boundaries we keep. I promise you that the person who is stepping into church for the first time in 10 years fully expects to be rocked a little. Precaution from you will only lead to precaution from them.

2. Look at the Gospel though the eyes of a child.

When I first brought my children from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Georgia, they had never seen many things the South has to offer-sweet tea, southern drawls, and skinny pine trees to name a few. But do you know what blew them away? A roly poly. You know. Those little crustaceans with 10,000 little legs that roll into a ball when you touch them? They came sprinting from the front yard ... "DADDY! DADDY! Come quick! You have to see this!" I thought maybe there was a bear loose in the front yard. No. It was a roly poly.

As we got down on our bellies to inspect this wonder, I suddenly was just as impressed as they were. How in the name of all things did the creator of the universe come up with this? So I came up for a series idea called Small Things, where we are too busy being "big" to see the truly remarkable things God gave us-the small things.

So next week, invite a few kids into your creative meeting. Maybe look back through your services and see what has comatosed your crowd, and disturb and disrupt them to a place where they are able to see Christ's face fresh again.

Then go lay on your belly in the grass with a three-year-old. It's better that way.

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