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Sunday, November 27, 2011

If I Were King

I don't have any political aspirations. You can keep your governorship. I don't want to be a congressman. I have no interest in the Oval Office. Now, emperor ... that might be interesting. Of course, I've no interest in that either when it comes down to it. No, running a country isn't really something I'd care to do.

You know someone with real purpose? That would be your local pastor. Nations are big and people are important, but, after all, if anything is of the highest importance, it would be God Himself. And a pastor's job is to shape his people into followers of God, disciples of Christ.

Now, contrary to popular opinion, I am not a pastor. (I'm somewhat surprised how many people have assumed I am.) But if I was, what would I do? Where would my focus be? Where would I try to take my church?

First and foremost, I would aim my church for maturity (Eph 4:11-16). I would preach the Word in season and out of season. While many pastors aim for the lowest common denominator, I'd try to give them greater depth. What does the Word say? What does it mean? How should we then live?

Of course, none of that should be news. I tend to take that for granted. What else would I do? I'd try to teach my people the importance of worship. First, worship does not simply take place on Sunday mornings. It is a lifestyle. A sacrificed life is your reasonable service of worship (Rom 12:1-2). Second, the worship that does take place in churches is not as is commonly viewed. In the standard church service today there is an audience sitting in an auditorium paying attention to a performance that is intended, hopefully, to bring them closer to God. I would rearrange that understanding. On Sunday morning there is indeed performers and an audience, but the audience at church is God, and the performers are the congregation. Those up front are simply enablers to help the performers provide their best for God. They are not where the attention should be aimed, and I would try to teach them that as well as shape every aspect of Sunday morning worship to that direction.

What else? I would want to make a focus on relationship. Obviously the first relational focal point would be Christ. How do we form, cultivate, and maintain that relationship? Next would be the people of God. While the world tells us that we need to do what feels good, to serve ourselves first, I would want to focus attention on serving each other. I'd make discipleship a key value. I'd make the hard work of walking alongside others to build them in in Christ a key value. I'd try to encourage a church that includes people. "Oh, you're new here! I've never met you before! Hey, are you doing anything after church? Would you like to come with us for lunch?" I would want it to be an intolerable thought of having people come and go without being noticed. I'd want it to be a given that we don't attend church, but we are part of church. We are all ministers. On the other hand, I'd like it to be the norm rather than the secret desire to be connected, to be bearing one another's burdens, to be accountable and together rather than working at it alone.

If I were king, I'd likely step down. That's not really my calling. That's not really my heart. Neither am I a pastor. That's not my calling either. So maybe my ideas of church are no better than my ideas of how a country should run. I like to think they're not. I like to think that there are some who share those ideas. I even like to dream that some are pastors.

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