Sometimes, when I look at the “Christian” world, I get stressed. Not from the bad things but from the good.
You see, I love God. I deeply believe that God sent Jesus to teach us, lead us, and die to rescue us from a death we brought on ourselves because of sin. I also love the church. I’ve seen God use a community of Christ followers to impact the world through spreading his message and, more importantly, living his message.
So what’s the stress about? There are a lot of Godly men and women doing things it seems like God is blessing. But they’re doing it in vastly different ways. If put in a room together, many would strongly disagree with each other.
I was listening to Rob Bell on Mars Hill’s podcast as I worked out this morning. And the uniqueness of his style impressed me. He’s authentic. He asks questions. He’s not really gimmicky in the way many pastors try to be nowadays. Instead, he just seems to talk. They don’t have a lot of clever sermon titles, but instead he has a depth or a view people want to hear.
Rob Bell’s and Mars Hill’s style may not be mine, and that’s ok. We try to put things into boxes of “right” and “wrong.” But God is bigger than one style or method. If we try to reconcile them all – we just can’t. It won’t work. From Rob Bell to Andy Stanley to Mark Batterson to Bob Hyatt to Mark Driscoll to churches large and small, God’s doing different things all around. And he’s working in a lot of different people who would disagree with parts of the others’ approaches.
But isn’t that how it works? We try to look to the models of others and use them to show people God. Instead, God really does call a person to a place and a people for a purpose. We need to understand who we are. We need to understand who God is. We need to understand who the people around us are who we’re trying to share God’s message with and meet the needs of. God, us, and people.
Can I learn from others’ styles and techniques? Sure. But the technique shouldn’t be the armor I use to cover a withered body. We need to be healthy – to have a clear call and move forward in GOD first. Are there theological differences that matter beyond style? Yes. But it’s not up to me to correct and reconcile everyone else’s faith and call.
So what about that stress? I’m trying to avoid it! Instead of trying to reduce God’s actions on earth into one “holy” style, I’m going to celebrate that God can move through mega churches, house churches, emergent churches and traditional ones. I’m going to pray and hope those leaders are seeking God. And I’m going to turn to the ministry to which God has called me and move forward – seeking His direction.