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My sister has left campus for Christmas break.
My husband starts his Christmas break today.
Since I am now out of school and have a real person job I no longer get a Christmas break.
This is quite sad.
So, to take a little rest I am going to take a Christmas break from blogging, so I will see you all in the new year.
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!
Back on May 3, 2011 I wrote a blog post about jargon and how it can turn away visitors to your church. Here is a link to that post if you need a refresher: https://thinkingchurchgrowth.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/just-dont-jargon/
I was shown the following video and it fits perfectly with this post. This is a video that shows the typical jargon of Christians. It is a pretty funny video, and you will soon realize, if you don’t already, the typical jargon that shows up in the church.
The following verse is my favorite verse about church growth. The picture on the top of my blog is also based on this verse. I think that even though this verse talks about one person that it is a great model for how the church is to act and to grow.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers!
I really love the picture that this verse paints for a Christian and a church to be like a strong tree. This verse also lays out specific ways to grow strong and have deep roots. It is a very visual verse and I believe can be applied to an individual’s way of life as well as that of a church.
Do you agree?
Do you have a favorite verse about church growth?
Christmas is one of the perfect opportunities to see growth in your church. Christmas is a very happy time when most people are open to growth and change. I personally feel like I grow a lot during the Christmas season. I think, for me, it has to do with getting closer and closer to Jesus’ birth and the reminder of how humbly he started. I love the Relient K song “Celebrate the Day” because I think it communicates the thoughts we should be having at Christmas. Here are the lyrics and a link to the song for you to enjoy and I hope it communicates as deeply to you as it does to me.
Celebrate the Day—Relient K
And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey.
If only I could find the words to say to let you know
How much you’ve touched my life because
Here is where you’re finding me
In the exact same place as the New Years Eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be
And the first time that you opened your eyes
Did you realize that you would be my Savior
And the first breath that left your lips
Did you know that it would change the world forever
And so this Christmas I’ll compare
The things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That you have come to meet me here
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
And the hope that, that you give
That you were born that I might really live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
I, I celebrate the day
That you were born to die
So I could one day pray for you to save my life
I was reading a book when the other said,
“Christianity is fundamentally a communication event.”
Stop. Think. Underline. Bookmark.
I really loved this quote because it is so true but it goes un-communicated.
How is Christianity spread?
How is Christianity understood?
How was Christianity explained to you?
Are we keeping the flame of Christianity alive by keeping the communication burning?
Are we communicating about it enough?
Christians have fallen into a trap. I call it the “you can have it your way trap.” I succumb to this so often that I named it. I have this terrible instinct when it comes to churches to run when it gets messy. If I cannot have it my way, then I am out. Now, I do not often act on this instinct but I have to admit that it is there. Where does this idea come from? When did we as Christians start to think that we could have it our way? I blame Burger King.
But I have news for you…the church is not Burger King.
This is the problem with a Burger King mentality in church, we are not committed. If we do not like something that is going on, we leave the church because I suddenly think I should have it my way. The problem with the Burger King Way is that it makes us selfish, it makes church all about us. But church is not about us. It never has been. Church is all about God.
When you leave a church at the first sign on pickles on your plain cheeseburger, then you make church all about you and what makes you happy. So I’m here to say, as much as for my own benefit as your own, that the next time you get the “turn and flee” idea planted in your head, ask yourself, “How can my attitude change to make this better?” See, this way it can still be all about you, but it is now all about you changing your attitude and not changing the church. It is suddenly how can you better serve the church then how much better the church can meet your needs?
This has been on my heart and mind the past few days and it is something that I get mad at myself about often because somehow in the course of my life this “have it your way” mentality has crept into my mindset about the church. I have found myself continually tempted to “church shop (a term in itself that encourages people to shop around until they find someplace they can “have it their way”) when I am unhappy when really I should just stay where I am and try my best to make myself better. Maybe I am the problem, and if that is the case, then I am not going to be happy anywhere.
The point is, this is God’s church, not ours. We should be more concerned about fixing ourselves and our mindset than fixing the church.
“The church ought to be the most creative place on the planet. We’re called to be trend-setters and culture-creators and if we are going to reach emerging generations, we’ve got to utilize emerging technologies to get our message across.”
–Mark Batterson/Lead Pastor National Community Church/Washington D.C.
What do you think about this quote?
Are we trend setters or are we lagging behind?
As you can tell I go through writing fits. I’ll do a really good job for a few days and then it seems I fail for a few months. Every day I think, “I really want to write something for my blog today.” And then I sit around, for a few hours, trying to think of something to write about. Today started out as one of those days and then it hit me.
At Christmastime I think it is really easy to get sucked into the consumerism and “I Need” syndrome. I love to give people the best gifts I can, which can be hard when you are on a tight budget. And as much as I do not like to admit this, sometimes buying gifts can get to be depressing. When that happens I realize how skewed my viewpoint is. I think that this is especially easy for churches to do. When your church is deep into the holidays it is hard to realize how far you have fallen from the true meaning of the season.
I would tend to think that December is one of the high points for churches doing marketing, but maybe, like gift giving, they are doing it for the wrong reason. When you start a marketing campaign around the holidays it is important to have specific goals to focus on, so when you start to get dragged deeper into gimmicks and hype you can look back and say, “look from where we have fallen from.”
There have been several times already this December (and it is only the fourth) that I have had to take a step back and say, “Wait, why am I doing this?” Here is an example: I am in charge of the children’s Christmas program this Christmas, which is happening this coming Sunday. I have been freaking out for about a month now about everything being perfect. Saturday night it hit me, why do I want this to be perfect? The answers I came up with: I do not want people to be disappointed or think it was bad, I do not want the kids to be embarrassed about it, and I’m a perfectionist. That’s when I stepped back and whacked myself in the head and said, “Really Lauren, those are your reasons?” I was struck with how selfish I had been and with how I totally missed the point of this Christmas program. Since then whenever I get stressed or feel myself getting dragged down I just ask myself, “Lauren, why are you doing this children’s program?” And then I reply to myself, “For the glory of God.” It has been amazing how much that has changed my attitude.
I think we, the church, need to continually ask ourselves, why are we doing this, and if the answer is not “For the glory of God.” Then stop it, drop it immediately, and either pick it up with the right attitude or leave it laying on the ground. I think this is especially true around the holidays when the whole reason for celebration is God’s glory.