- This person is/these people are basically ignored. Not one person has thought ahead to prepare for the arrival of a guest. It’s been awhile.
- It’s as if they have targets on their heads. Fresh meat. New blood. Finally someone new to teach Sunday School. And donate money.
- Greeters greet them. Ushers usher them. But nobody else acknowledges them.
- People say hi. Someone walks them to the nursery (if they have babies.) Someone helps them find the coffee/bathroom/water fountain if they need any of those things. They are not treated like unicorns (although they might be unicorns.)
- They are personally and authentically invited to whatever is happening – and things are happening that fill more than calendars.
NEXT Church sponsored an Elder Symposium here in Charlotte over the weekend and there were no workshops. There was no sermon. We started at 9 and ended at noon. There were specific tracks for conversation and sharing. There was coffee.
This is a different way to train leaders to do ministry.
And it’s not the one and only time officers get trained. There’s work to do in equipping our leaders on a regular basis. At every gathering, healthy leadership is modeled. At every gathering there’s a component of learning and culture shifting.
And one of the best takeaways was offered by a leader who said that four times a year, her church leaders have a training called The Way. They teach leaders that – in their congregation – this is how they do it.
This is how they do hospitality.
This is how they do conflict.
This is how they do mission work.
The way they do Church now is not like the way Church has done hospitality or conflict or mission work before. A new culture is taught and it slowly becomes their DNA.
The world tells us that everything we do is about me and mine. The world tells us that “others” are dangerous and “boys will be boys” and appearances are everything and risks are to be avoided and some people are more valuable than other people. The world teaches us to shame and blame each other. The world teaches us that where we’re from and who we know forever determine our future.
But Jesus speaks about a different world called the Kingdom of Heaven – and it’s about the here and now at least as much as it’s about the afterlife. It’s different.
We need to learn how to be the Church differently in a way that’s less like the world and more like the Kingdom of Heaven. But it’s hard to break old habits. It’s hard to let go of the way we’ve always done it even if the way we’ve always done it is killing us.
Image of Montell Jordan who is now part of Victory World Church in Atlanta.