I am sitting at my desk in downtown Tulsa, working late, trying to catch up from last week’s hectic schedule. I am listening to our Pastor’s iTunes account; a little Credence Clearwater Revival is good for the soul every now and then. In moderation. I can only listen when the maintenance staff has left for the evening- even they frown upon my chicken-wing and limp-legged dancing style.
I also am wondering about the scope of ministry of the church. The big “C” Church, not our family of faith in downtown Tulsa. I confess that I don’t understand all the dynamics of ministry, nor the appropriate parameters for ministry, nor the cost evolved in a lack of ministry. We focus so much time and energy on what we purport to be ministry, and I have to ask myself the same question asked at the conclusion of Jim and Casper Go to Church, where the atheist asks the minister “is this what Jesus asked you guys to do?”
I don’t really care for the book or its premise. Nonetheless, I seem to be haunted by this theme in my own life and “ministry”. Eric- what you are doing- is that what Jesus asked you to do?
I sit in a comfortable chair at a high-quality workstation with cool computer hardware and software, plenty of music equipment, and the freedom to use it all in ministry. And I stay very busy with it all.
As for my call, I do feel this is what Jesus would have me do right now. I use the gifts He gave, in the position I am in, to serve this church family. I get that. I’m all over that.
As for ministry… now there’s the rub.
We as a church constantly evaluate ourselves in service, ministry, education, worship, fellowship, finances- you name it, we measure it. We invest resources in measuring program effectiveness, program potential, and return on investment (now that is a sore subject for another post…). However, I continue to look downtown and around town and see unchurched people. Lots of them. They play golf at courses I pass on my way home from church. They are at pools and sports fields early on Sundays so they will have their Saturdays free. And I wonder to myself, what lengths should we go to try to reach those families?
And what about the intelligentsia of the area- those who consider themselves too intellectual to consider the necessity of a Savior even a remote possibility? They can be found at any time of the day at Starbucks and Panera Bread and Barnes and Noble and other hang-outs for smart people. (I am smart enough for the drive-through,that is about it…..). Not to mention our friends and acquaintances who wear black all day long in 100-degree heat; those for whom goth has given a unique persona. Those who give no consideration to the hereafter or to a Creator who passionately wants to Love them face to face.
But in thinking through all this muddle, these two questions battle for my attention:
How far should we (as a church) go to gain the attention of the lost and unchurched?
Once we have their attention, when and where does the ministry occur?
I’d ask for your input (the three humans who read this blog) to these questions. I am not taking a poll, and will not use your answers in research. I am curious for other people’s opinions.
They directly relate to my first question… Eric, is this what Jesus asked you to do?
We’ll delve further into these questions in a later post. Now I need to go- “Bad Moon Rising” is next on the playlist.
Life is good!