Sunday, May 22, 2011

An Anthology of sorts

So this has kind of been a crazy week for and I haven't taken the time to blog about any of it yet so I am going to lay it all down in this one.

Disclaimer: I will be saying somethings in here that aren't normal discussion but I want it to be clear that I don't disagree with the institutions in principle but as with many other things I just see areas in which these ministries could be improved.

It kind of started earlier this week. I was at the mechanic getting a wheel rotation/brake check on my car and was in the waiting room. I didn't know how long of a wait it was going to be, it turned out to be three hours, but I figured I should bring a book along to help the pass more quickly. I took "IKDG" and one of my bibles. There was an elderly couple  that was there when I arrived and for as long as I was. I started reading from my bible and the lady started asking me some questions. She was being harmlessly inquisitive and I actually appreciated it. If I were to knit-pick, and I am since this is my blog, there were two lines of her questioning that did get to me a little bit.
She kept asking me if I was doing a study - bible study. The first time she asked I just told her that I was reading for my own personal time. Oddly she asked me two or three more times and I gave the same answer. From paying attention I am guessing that she didn't have any memory issues. It got me thinking though, have we become so dependent on "bible studies" for our growth that using a few hours of sitting around at a mechanics shop has become a foreign and odd thing? I don't have a problem with Bible study groups, I think they can be positive environments for discussion and growth between peers but really they should fortify and enrich the personal time with Jesus not become the focal point of the bible time.
Well moving forward the other thing that kind of turned my crank a little bit was when she started asking me about my education. I informed her that I go to a missionary training school. She didn't react as some do when they hear that I am in such a program but it was nice for someone to at least seem to not think of it as a big deal. She asked me what religion it was and I told her it was Christian. She asked if it was just Christian, and not denominational and I answered her question politely. It really hit me on a major thing with me though, how we get so hung up on our denominations that just being Christian really doesn't seem good enough anymore. Obviously there are a myriad of doctrinal stances which conflict with each other, but every true Christian church has Jesus and has Him in a proper view. That isn't arguable but seems to get overshadowed by the things that cause people to be "Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal or Presbyterian" or any of the other ones. I am guilty of it to, getting caught up in the differences but we need to collectively look more at Jesus and less at the other stuff.
Also recently and also not so recently I have been trying to understand my place and what I should be doing these days. I don't want to do anything but ministry as the focus of my life. What I would love is to have an opportunity to work in a church, primarily in a roll of leading people into more organized and focused prayer which would (hopefully) result in a passionate pursuit of outreach to the area that I am in. The reality of it is that most churches don't have such a position. Should that stop me, no but for now it is one of my excuses. I find it interesting though, that while churches don't have space on the payroll for an evangelism and outreach pastor they do have it for children's workers, youth workers, pastors to the elderly. Are those bad things, NO! But for the sake of the argument I am going to focus on youth workers. To be fair, they have a legitimate ministry, the culture is going to doodoo and many jr. high and HS age people are getting caught up in it. The problem is that it seems like youth workers in churches sometimes become glorified events coordinators. Trying to come up with fun activities, trips and groups to keep the kids from getting bored and bolting for a better (more fun) group. I came from a youth group like that and learned some from the messages that were given but the draw for me was the activities. I have my own ideas about why it happens that way but they are irrelevant at the moment, I just think that if that is allowed to be going on then why not pastors who are focus outside of the church. And lets get away from that title. How about just someone working for and with the congregations to really get prayer and evangelism organized.
Obviously we live in a broken world that these are just the ideas of a 23 year that will probably not go anywhere, which is fine because each congregation does it a little different. I just want people to think about why things are the way that they are instead of just taking stuff for face value as it is right now.