|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Be smart, be strategic”
Our Bible verse for today: “Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things too great or too wondrous for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like a weaned child.” Psalm 131:1-2 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Simple church”
There’s a movement in our society today which is growing in popularity and which is spreading quickly. It’s known as “minimalist living”. The nature and structure of what the movement involves varies widely, but it centers around the notion that life has gotten too busy, too cluttered, and too complicated for many people. So, they change jobs to something less demanding so they can have a better quality of life with family and friends. Or they downsize their home, sometimes even moving into what is known as a “tiny home” (700 square feet or less). The move towards minimalism often involves decluttering your schedule and removing activities and responsibilities that aren’t of true importance to you. There can be much more to it as well but the point is, many people are seeking to simplify their lives.
In their book “Simple Church” Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger make the case for simplifying church life in a similar manner. They begin by noting how busy and complex life itself has become for many people, and why it is that so many people are yearning for a simple life that is less busy and less complex. They wrote, “In the midst of all the noise, all the rush, all the change, all the busyness, and all the uncertainty, people long for simplicity. Precisely because things are so hectic and out of control people respond to simple. The busyness and complexity of life makes simple a great commodity, something desired.”
They then apply that concept to church life, noting that in many cases we have allowed our church life to become as busy and as complicated as life in the outside world. When that happens, rather than our participation in the life of the church being a time of peace and nurture – a refuge from the storms of life, it instead becomes more of the same busyness, just with religious overtones.
In Psalm 131:1-2 (above) King David described a peaceful and still state of mind and heart that resembled that of a contented child snuggled in his mother’s arms. The interesting thing about that Psalm is that the superscript above the Psalm labels it as “A song of ascents.”. A song of ascent was a song that the Jews would sing as they were walking up to Jerusalem on their way to the temple for worship services. So, David wrote this Psalm about peaceful contentedness with church life in mind.
In the days to come we will explore the idea of “simple church” and also “strategic church” more deeply. For now, let me ask you to consider the big picture of your church life. Would you describe it more in terms of nurturing, refreshing, encouraging, and spiritually renewing; or do you think more of the crowds, bustling activity, programs, and things to do? To some degree there’s a place of all of that in church life, but which picture would you say best describes your church? We’ll come back to this tomorrow.
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