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17 November 2007

Just ordinary

Apart from commenting on a few other peoples blogs, I've been a bit quiet about the recent Salvation Army Congress held in Glasgow. In summary - i enjoyed some bits and didn't enjoy others.

One of the main issues that has been raised about it is that there was once again this desire from the leadership for a polished performance. Strangely, the one musical act that most people are saying they remember is the African Choir from Manchester SA - the one group that more than likely didn't get a sound check and wasn't note perfect or polished ... but it was fantastic. It could be described as a "messy" performance. But messy is honest. Messy is simple. Messy is how Church should be - not a fake polished performance, but a group of messed up yet forgiven people giving of themselves to their redeeming God.

Came across this thought today that sums up what many are saying just now:

Rick Warren said that, if you want to build an equipping church, you have to tear down the idol of excellence. Why? Because most people are not excellent; most people are not extraordinary. Most people are ordinary. If your highest value is excellence, then you aren't going to entrust ministry to ordinary people.

Steve Sjogren argues that good enough is good enough. We don't have to wait until we can be excellent before we can do good stuff. Only a few—by definition—can be extraordinary. God calls us to do the best we can with what he has given us.

Unfortunately, if this train of thought is true, then the appeals for Officers will have fallen on stoney ground if all people saw was this attempt at a polished performance rather than simple honest worship. Now, I have to clarify that I do also believe God can be honoured through the hearts of those involved in the polished performance, but there are many watching who would have thought ... I could never be that good ... and so they just give up listening to the call on their lives.

We are all capable of doing stuff now - just as we are. So ... what are you waiting for...?


Iain Hudson said...

Dan yep I agree. Not only Rick Warren but also Chalke says in Intelligent Church "An intelligent church is a messy church, because messiness is the consequence of being inclusive." (p47-61) We've also got to be honest and not fake. In my experience people see through fakeness and its a complete turn off!

Howard said...

It is an interesting thought. Your absolutely right to point out that there is a fine balance between doing your best for God and actually putting people off because what you do seems so unattainable.

More than anything I long to see people who can engage with others where they are. That doesn't mean 'polished' but it does mean 'authentic'. A reality check on what 'we' feel comfortable with and where 'others' are is probably long overdue.