All Things?? Lots of Things???

As nearly all of you know, I am currently the Lead Pastor (only pastor…but “Lead” because we believe that EVERYONE is a pastor) at Spirit Alive Church in Kenosha/Pleasant Prairie, WI. We are small and growing. At least since I have been here, we have decided to focus on what we do well and not dilute ourselves, our resources, by trying to be “all things to all people”. However…is it possible that we have it wrong?

Yes…from a business perspective we are able to provide excellence by focusing our resources on a few things rather than spreading our resources thin by doing many things. I believe this. I championed this. But am I…are we…wrong?

Take worship for example. We do a contemporary worship service. We show almost no hint at all that we have a LUTHERAN label on us…none at all other than a transparent theology of grace and acceptance of all people.

However…this is the ONE service that we do. This is it. Why? Because we don’t have the resources to do more than this at a high level of quality and effectiveness. But does Malcolm Gladwell teach us something different about this culture? (if you don’t know what I’m talking about…watch the TED Talk on the BLOG post below).

And if culture isn’t enough of a drive for us to think about this…let us consider Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. He says he has made himself a ‘slave’ to all people, becoming for them whatever they needed him to in order to ‘win’ them. There is so much to unpack here I don’t know where to begin!!

Are we the church to become all things to all people? Giving up what we find spiritual, filling and uplifting for the benefit of others? Do we provide a huge variety of styles, programs, educational opportunities, etc to the point of breaking our resources? Is this what the larger church is for? To provide ‘options’ in all areas theological? Worship? Location? Leadership Style? Etc??

Thoughts? (watch the TED Talk if you haven’t…)

Church Options…

Ok…so this TED TALK is an oldie but a goodie…definitely one of my favorites. From time to time I go back to old(er) stuff to re-visit the ideas that come from them. Even if you have seen this before, I encourage you to watch it again and think about what the church might learn from Howard Moskowitz…

Tweeting God…

I was having a conversation with some people yesterday, a conversation that moved to the practice of prayer. We were talking about the uncomfortable nature of praying out loud (at least uncomfortable for those of us who come from a more mainline church background). While one person expressed that even though the habit and the discomfort of praying out loud in the home sometimes creates a bit of anxiety and makes him think twice about doing it, the experience of actually doing it and the sense of connection he feels with God and those he is with somehow ‘complete’ his day (and no…that is not a Jerry Maquire reference.. “You Complete Me”).

Someone else however, said that even though they would like to pray out loud more often, that they simply don’t do it. When asked why she said that she feels sometimes that she doesn’t have much to say or that she is so busy that a prayer wouldn’t…couldn’t last long so it really would have much content. In other words, why pray if you aren’t going to say much. Interesting…

I have read a lot about the harm social media is causing society, how the ever dis-connected reality of an overly connected world is taking over our culture. I have read people rant about what our culture is coming to with the self-centered nature of Facebook posts and the dissolution, disintegration and the destruction of the modern English language and the basics of human communication due to 140 character Tweets…though I consider myself a moderate to heavy user of modern technology and social media, I happen to agree at least to a small degree with some of these critiques. However, what if we ‘tweeted’ God?

Here I am in this conversation about prayer with a person who doesn’t pray (silently or aloud) because she doesn’t have enough to say and I respond to her, “You don’t have to be Shakespeare…just Tweet God.” In other words, don’t try to be eloquent or compare your content or communication with God to anyone else…just communicate…just pray…even in it is only 140 characters.

So…in short, my thought for the day is this…if Tweeting is about connectedness not necessarily about communication, then simply Tweet with God. God already knows what we want to communicate anyway (or so we say). So…stay connected. Stay connected with God and offer a Tweet. (maybe one of you should create a Twitter for God that people can offer their Tweets to if it hasn’t already been done…)


Ok everyone…I need your input.

What does the resurrection mean? Why did it happen? Why did it have to happen?

Post your thoughts…I’m thinking about the upcoming sermon and could use your help…