Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Small is cool.

A few months back I read yet another great book on my Kindle.  This one was written by a few people I'm growing to truly respect...people who are a journey of the Truth of Jesus and His church.  It is a small book (pun intended) and a great read.  I highly recommend it.

Then last week I read a tweet from
@kySimpleChurch which is an alliance of people doing church in Kentucky.  The tweet went something like "Jesus didn't seem all that interested in drawing a crowd. What if we took a similar approach?"  Again, this concept that small might be OK, even better, perhaps more Biblical.

So why do we, as Christians, think that bigger is better?  Isn't that ironic?  We are always trying to "grow the church" which always means building size, numbers of people "attending," "programs," and cash.  Jesus never spoke of such nonsense, but it seems to be all we focus on. We think that more numbers, more cash, more goings on, and bigger buildings are an indication of life transformation.  Really?  My casual observation (let alone research) indicates that is not at all the case.

Maybe that's because Jesus didn't preach personal comfort and wealth.  Maybe it's because He calls us to lose our lives instead of saving them.  That means us as individuals and us as the church...the group of people following Him.

Whaddya think?  Is small big?  Is small cool?  Is small better?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Do I Distrust Institutions?

Well, the short answer is yes and that would make for a quick blog entry!  But let me expound a bit...

The Easter season is fast approaching, and the best way one can know that, at least in suburbia, is the prominence of advertisements for church Easter egg hunts.  The signs are everywhere.  It's all over Facebook.  "Over 4,000 Eggs Hidden!" read one sign I passed yesterday.  Another local church is having 4, yes four, Easter egg hunts to serve you better (with 90,000 eggs...I swear I'm not making this up.)

My question is why the church wants to sub-contract the responsibilities of the family.  Why don't we equip the family to be a family instead of substituting for that role?  One of my zillion favorite memories of growing up was our annual family Easter egg hunt.  Every Easter, we would either gather in the "woods" of my grandparents' property or in their living room in the event of inclement weather.  And the three Probert kids and whatever other cousins made it home for Easter would search for eggs.    They were real eggs by the way.  You know, like the ones that come out of a chicken, and you hard boil them, and you color them with your family, and you don't buy them, and they're not plastic?  One special plastic egg was hidden for each child that had a few coins in it.  And there weren't thousands of eggs.  I can imagine the sign for our event: "Over 3 Dozen Eggs Hidden!" Every time I walk through those "woods" I still reminisce about some of the more creative hiding places they came up with.  I even pretend like maybe there was just one egg that wasn't found yet...

That's it.  The family Easter egg hunt.  Simple eh?  Yep.  And maybe that's exactly why it was so special.  And because my family who loved us did this for and with us.  And they didn't subcontract our family time to the church, or any other institution.  Maybe the greatest threat to true Christian discipleship in the world today is the breakdown of the family.  And maybe the church, in an attempt to help, is actually contributing.  Maybe the church should put its energy into being the church and allowing families to be the same.  But then again, that's not what institutions do...

Thank God I grew up in a home where we didn't even know what an institution was, let alone rely on it to be our family.  Church...let's wake up.