We hosted our annual fall “launch” last weekend, and if you were here you know it was obvious there was a buzz going on, or what Pastor Craig Groeschel calls “it.”
Here is what he says:
“I can’t tell you exactly what it is. Part of what makes it it is that it defies categorization. It won’t reduce to a memorable slogan. It is far more special than that. That’s why we have to embrace the fact that God makes it happen. It is from him. It is by him. It is for his glory. We can’t create it. We can’t reproduce it. We can’t purchase or manufactor it.
It is not a system, a model or a program. And not everyone will get it.
It is God’s gift.”
All too often, especially among newcomers or visitors, the tendency is to look at the fruits of what is happening: lots of people, great music, kids excited to be here. I don’t think it is any of those things. I think its about honoring God and making it all about him. And that begins in the pulpit. It begins with preaching the Gospel, talking about what Jesus Christ is asking us to do with our lives. It also means not preaching a
social agenda: “here’s what they should do”
or a Bible exegisis: “look how smart we are”
or a theology class “look how smart the Pastor is”
or a feel good sermon “congratulations, you are such good Catholics”
or a feel good at other people’s expense sermon: “everybody whose not here, doing it the way we do it, is wrong and probably is going to hell.”
It means talking about what God wants us to do and not stepping back from that challenge even when we’re criticized for it, called bad names, accused of doing exactly the thing we’re not doing (like not preaching Scripture).
It means people are being asked to make a commitment of their lives to the Lord and not just getting a pat on the back for showing up, tipping God in the collection basket and petending not to be bored out of their minds for an hour.
It means people are recognizing that a Church is not effective when its all about them and what the Pastor can do for them. But when a Church becomes all about the gifts and grace God has given members to serve as ministers, to serve the Body of Christ a Church can take off like a 747.
It means more people are recognizing that it is as much about who is not here than it is about who is here.