Our new series, “Genuine – discovering who you were always meant to be” is a fascinating topic, primarily because we have become so accustomed to the artificial, pretend, and fake. We escape into movies, go to theme parks and purchase items that create a “feeling” and have great “style” but unfortunately very little substance. I also wonder, because we are so inundated with the pretend, if you and I can even discern the difference? And while it’s prevalent, many of us are tired of it. We long for someone to tell the truth. We are drawn to people where “what you see is what you get” and who seem confident or comfortable in their own skin. And many of us try to convince ourselves that we too are genuine, but the reality is there is a drive in the majority of human beings that hinders our ability to be real.
Because of my role as a pastor I tend to think a lot about the church and about the mission of God. I’ve read a ton of stuff about how people are leaving churches, not to go to another church, but “leaving” the church completely. I hear laments of people remembering when Christianity had more influence, was more respected etc etc. And in my role, it is my responsibility to ask the “why” question and also ask the “what can we do” question.
In my opinion there are some things that help a little and one thing that helps a lot. First the things that help a little. I think churches need to listen and value the thoughts and opinions of those who aren’t there. As the Apostle Paul did, we must contextualize our message and speak in a language that is understandable. Preaching pastors must no longer assume people want to listen, but take the time to “make a case” for why this message would be valuable and why you’d want to listen to it. We must pay attention to the words we use, our styles and the clarity and simplicity of next steps of discipleship. We must be intentional about creating environments where relationships can form and God’s Spirit can move. There’s been a ton written about subjects like these and there is a lot to learn about how we can be the church in our context.
Here is the video recap of last weekend’s lake baptism service where so many were baptized!