At one point at the church where I pastored, we were doing seven identical services every weekend. In a room that seated 570 people, we had stumbled into some crazy momentum. The thing is, momentum seems to shift from time-to-time. You notice it easily watching football: one team is suddenly tearing up the field for three-and-a-half quarters and then it suddenly shifts to the opposite team in the last ten minutes of the game. There are all sorts of reasons, but that’s a blog for another time. What fascinated me was the energy…or more specifically the big group energy that was happening at that time in our history. In the Church, big group energy seems to primarily come from two sources: First, a critical mass of people coalescing around a common mission. Some mysterious tipping point will inevitably occur. The second source is even more mysterious: God Himself. His Presence. Maybe that’s E = mc2 at a spiritual level: Energy equals mass times Light (speed) squared. One day, a friend of mine who was deeply involved in the prophetic prayer stream and somewhat suspicious of the “seeker sensitive” movement back in the day, unloaded a confession on me. And although I would not have labeled us a “seeker sensitive” church, I certainly could see why others might. After all, we viewed the weekend celebrations as more than a gathering of believers to be inspired or challenged to do something for God; there was an inviting, attractional element bathed in grace that created an ideal context for not-yet-believers. My friend confessed that one Sunday he looked around the room during a packed out celebration and frustratingly blurted out to God, “Why them, God? Why this place?” My friend’s frustration was about wanting to see more obvious “charismatic” expressions. I understood; that was my background, my roots as well. My personal difficulties had been around the typical “charismatic-church-subculture” articulations. My theology and experience was Holy Spirit-oriented. But I just hadn’t been convinced that all the subcultural corporate expressions were expedient, or to contextually stretch Paul a bit: “We are allowed to do all things,” but not all things help others grow stronger (1 Corinthians 10:23b). Anyway, my friend said in that moment God suddenly whispered an answer to him: “Because I trust them.” I was stunned when he told me that. First, amazed that my friend told me, because we all typically tell stories that make us look good or that support our particular ministry philosophy. Second, I was honestly humbled that God would trust us at all. I’m not sure I trust me! Which led me to another thought much more sobering: To whom much is given, much is required. Trust is nothing to squander. Especially when it comes to God. My friends, you have been entrusted with both a message and a mission. Apparently God trusts you. Don’t ever forget that…especially as momentum comes and goes.
DAVE WORKMAN | Elemental Churches