I realize that we all have a desire for celebrity. Either we want to be that person, or we want someone to crown as king.
I used to be proud that our church was the subject of much buzz. But I am no longer. I wanted to think that we were trailblazers of some sort, forging a new way of practicing faith together as a new generation. I secretly enjoyed talking to people and hearing them tell, “Oh, I’d like to visit some time. I’ve been hearing great things about you guys.” And this from strangers.
I will occasionally get invitations to preach or to have coffee. I can tell that people have this ansy-giddyness. But nearly every time, we all leave disappointed. As it turns out, I am not a very good public speaker in general; my style is rather home-grown–it works well at our church, but rarely among other people. And more surprisingly, even with white foam and brown caffeine, I have no secret knowledge. (Although I did read the DaVinci Code.)
What I don’t get is, what are these “great things” that people have heard about us? Yes, we are fairly ‘post-modern’, but so what? I’m not sure we’re doing anything special. And besides, do people know that we’re the slowest growing church in America? Do people know that we have members who are deeply wounded and others who are deeply troubled? Do people know that we have members who are hypocrites? Do people know that most of our members don’t come to church on time? Do people know that the dude in charge doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing?
Wait a minute…that sounds like my church.
I have come to accept that our church may never really become a trailblazing sort of congregation. In fact, I wonder if ambitions toward that end is actually sinful. However, now more than ever, I have grown in the conviction that our church must continue to press on to find an authentic and organic mix of faith and genuine life…not for other churches, but for ourselves. This is not just to be true to ourselves, but to find genuine redemption in Jesus as participants both in the culture we find ourselves in and in the death/resurrection of Jesus. And this not only for ourselves, but for the sake of God’s glory.