At Advent there is a conversation that seems to keep coming up. What are we really about? The answer is fairly obvious. We are about discipleship and helping people grow in their discipleship. Now this involves many things, such as sharing the gospel, justice, care for each other, worship etc. At it heart though it is about placing Christ as the centre of everything we do. It is amazing though how easy we get distracted from this.
Just over the past several months we have been distracted by worrying kids being noisy in worship, parking, who can use the church when, coffee making, the debate over same-sex blessing, broken photocopiers . . . The list could go on. There are even more subtle and seductive distractions. Things like focusing on getting more people, bigger budgets, better programs and simple human politics. These are things that need to be attended to, but if focused on corrupt.
If we are to be renewed, Christ must be the centre of what we do, and discipleship must be the central things that we develop, otherwise any renewal we experience is only a poor illusion. So with so many distractions how do we keep the main thing the main thing? That is one key to renewal. We are starting by asking a simple question when we make decisions. “Where is Christ in this?” If you have ideas about how we can keep the main thing central. Please share.
There are a lot of different opinions on what “The Main Thing” is, but a professor of mine in Graduate School challenged us this way. “Christians believe in Heaven, or The Kingdom or the Age to Come, whatever you want to call it. Now imagine the way it’s going to be there, and then make your here and now as much like that as you can.” How important will our photocopiers, flower charts, etc., be in the Age to Come? By contrast, how vital will it be that we listened, and encouraged folks on their way there? Another mentor of mine had this to say about all the parochial reports and other recording keeping pastors traditionally do during “blizzard season.” His advice–denominations ask you to count up and report on a lot of things, but are they always the things “that really count?”