I was amazed when I saw it. Never imagined we could pull it off. More recent history says we’re not out in front we’re back in the pack. What am I talking about? Well, the United Methodist Church and the internet. From my perspective, the United Methodist Church, at times, has seemed to be just a wee bit away from cutting edge and success. (I remember a friend talking about where Methodist Churches are located in small towns – “Typically,” he said, “Methodist churches are one block off of success.” I have often found that to be true – most are not on the main street of town but a block or two tucked away). But now there was this website – www.10thousanddoors.org – and it’s engaging and unique and interesting. I was surprised and really happy that the UMC has such a great resource.
The tag line for the site and this endeavor is “RETHINK CHURCH”. I liked that too. Bought two shirts that have that on the front.
However, as I sat with the Leadership of Asbury last week I began to wonder if that was really the best tag line for us. Most of what I see being done and tagged as churches “rethinking” is the church being the church. When I listened to the excitement around our room and I heard talk about helping people in our church feed the homeless… as we discussed new ideas for getting school supplies to kids in need… as we continued our conversation about the new youth space and how we can help kids find Jesus… as all those ideas poured out with such enthusiasm, I realized we weren’t rethinking church, we were simply being the church. We didn’t rethink who we were, I think we just re-membered who our leader is and we’ve decided to follow his lead.
What I see us experiencing at Asbury is not “rethinking” as much as it is “recalibrating” – resetting our compass. If you get in my wife’s van you will see a readout of the direction you’re going. Sometimes, somehow, this thing gets out of whack. The solution is to drive in circles until the compass gets its right bearings. I see our church more like that (no not driving in circles!). We weren’t way off track and ignoring Jesus’ leadership, but we were 3/4 of a bubble off of true north. Now, as we truly put ourselves under His authority and ask him to direct us we find ourselves being who we were always meant to be. And it’s not about trying to think up new ideas, it’s about letting the Spirit of God reveal new possibilities to us – and then having the courage to follow His lead.
So, my advice for all of us – United Methodist and otherwise – RETHINK CHURCH is not a bad idea, but let’s start with RECALIBRATING CHURCH. Let’s stop trying to make things happen and let HIM happen in us and through us. I’ve seen the energy and excitement it brings. Where he leads us, we should follow. It’ll make you stop and think.
Holy high five to you, Mike