Archive for June, 2010

Twitter: the elephant in the room 2

Saw this blog post from TheResurgence and was reminded of my entry from a few months back on Twitter. Similar analysis but unlike what I wrote, there are some practical suggestions for people who use Twitter to keep them from becoming prideful and making an idol out of Twitter. And I liked the clever hybrid Bible verse: “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth tweets.”

Justification by Twitter

Summer 2010 outlook

At church, my brother and I, along with our dad, are planning and preparing for the transition that will need to take place before I leave for New York. It was in all of our minds for a while now, but after this weekend, I think it’s more real to us how much of a challenge it will be.

I’ve been thinking about my life and how seemingly nonstop it is. It could be worse, I know, and I am grateful to have a job that provides a lot of flexibility. But I look at friends who work full-time, and when they’re done with work, they go home and relax or go out with friends. They can do whatever they want Friday night and all day Saturday. And they seem so satisfied and blessed in their churches. All their friends are there. They’re always sharing about what they learned from their pastors. They have small groups, retreats, mission trips, sports fellowship, church T-shirts, potlucks, weddings, fun times. They have older people to mentor them and younger people they can disciple. They have backup praise bands and backup pastors. Maybe they don’t realize how good they have it.

Unbelievers, especially, have so much time on the weekends to do non-work things: get groceries, buy new clothes, wash the car, go to the beach. But I have so much work to do after work that I get agitated when business work spills into Friday evening and sometimes Saturdays, because it means that I have less time to prepare for church. The sermon itself is the bare minimum, essential thing I need to get done, but on top of that I want time to reflect and mull over the bigger picture things: how is everyone in the ministry doing, praying for them, praying for direction and unity in the ministry, planning meetings or events–just thinking more. To give an analogy from my job, the bare minimum is to enter the invoices and bills, reconcile bank transactions, make sure deadlines are properly noted, make sure details for tomorrow’s dispatch are comprehensive and logical. But we also have to analyze profit and loss statements and balance sheets, think about how much debt we’re carrying versus how much is owed us, think about how to increase cash flow, actively pursue government contracts and construction projects, think about how to make dispatch more efficient and error-free–we have to do these things to move the business forward.

There are fresh eyes at our church who would like for our church to be able to do this or that for them or provide this or that for their children. And their concerns are reasonable. But not many of them know just how much hard work it has taken us just to get to where we are today, and how difficult it is already. I know I can do more, but it is impossible for a few people to do everything that might be required in a well-run church, much less one person: prepare sermons, organize retreats, be a good EM-KM liaison, help out with VBS, do inreach and outreach, lead praise, give rides, make the jubo, lead prayer meetings and Bible studies–all while perhaps working a full-time job, raising a family, and going to grad school. I know there are many out there who can do a better job than I can, people that use their time more efficiently, people who are gifted and equipped in multiple areas, people who have all at once bigger hearts, thicker skin, and lower sleep requirements. But even for them, it’s never an easy responsibility.

For some time now, I’ve wished for God somehow to send us more servant leaders. I have found many people with servant hearts in KCM and other ministries who have ministry experience and serve at their churches faithfully. Sometimes I wish I could have those kinds of people at our church. God calls people to leave their home churches to become missionaries overseas. God calls people to leave their home churches to plant new churches in another city or state or country. Can’t God also call people to leave their home churches to help out struggling small churches, some which may be just down the street?

It looks like the 1040 movie has been really mobilizing and challenging people everywhere. I see the word revival thrown around even. It’s hard not to be moved by scenes of worship in other countries, powerful testimonies, and the participation of passionate, excited people in that screening room. KCM missions videos are always uplifting and inspiring. You just want to go when everyone else is going and talking about how blessed they were and how close they got with their teammates.

Then I think about small church. There is no glamour in serving at a small church. It is discouraging, it is tiring, and it is easy to want to just get by. I think the only two things that can really keep someone committed to a small struggling church is 1) family and 2) calling. Otherwise, it’s easy for visitors with “what-can-you-do-for-me” attitudes to justify why they would rather be at a different church. Number one as a reason seems to be losing ground. Kids do what they want and go where they like despite their parents’ requests. Even PKs find it too hard to stay when there’s too much going on. A strong sense of number two–calling–is something I’d like to see more in the body of Christ. The kind of calling that really makes people believe in their church community as a FAMILY united in Christ, even if there are no biological family members there or close friends. Even when things are hard. The kind of calling that makes a person visit a church and say “Even though I don’t feel comfortable here, even though this church can work on a lot of things…I think God is calling me to put my roots here and serve.” I’m sure people with these convictions are out there…I just don’t know where they are.

And I’m also not very good at recruiting and mobilizing. I am not an outside sales kind of guy. So how would I bring these people even if I found them? The thing I look forward to is when my brother and I get married and we bring our wives to our church. Two solid sisters right there, partners in servant leadership. That will be awesome. Maybe we will have to wait until then for God to provide for a need that we’ve had for a long time. Or maybe it will happen sooner. Maybe if that happens the order will be switched. :P

So I ask those of you reading to prayerfully consider all that I’ve written about, to ask God if maybe He is challenging you to a new calling, to keep your eyes open for people who are already looking for this kind of ministry opportunity. And please pray for YKC and the new chapter ahead. Andrew is going to have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.