Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Maybe You're a Reformer at Heart

Have you ever wondered what's wrong with you? Why you don't fit in? Why the crowd seems to be so content while you sit back with your unanswered questions? I have.

In fact, the other day I was speaking with a pastor friend of mine and we both shared our reservations about church - an odd thing for pastors to admit. But we both felt like we are often out of step with the masses. Most of what exists as church today only frustrates us. Then we fall into the guilt of feeling like there must be something wrong with US. Why are we so critical? Can't we just be happy with the way things are?

If you share my discontent, take heart. You may not be as big of a misfit as you think. What might be happening is that YOU see things clearly. Rather than let your discontent repel you from the church and learn to keep quiet, maybe you need to do just the opposite... embrace the church and speak your mind. It may actually be the mind of God. Did you ever think of that?

Before Cedarbrook Church started I taught a series of messages on the book of Nehemiah (these were meetings that we had before we officially opened). We learned that vision always starts with discontent. The visionary has something in mind that isn't yet in place. It's out of that sense of frustration that they are moved to take action. They move to bring what's in their mind into reality (often in the face of opposition).

Unfortunately, many visionaries assume that they are mere malcontents. They feel that they are better off to stay out of the church in order to not "infect" anyone with their strange thinking. But I believe some of the church's best people are currently on the outside looking in. If the church is going to become who God meant it to be, we HAVE to bring these visionaries inside of the church, make room for them and affirm them.

Let me be the first to affirm you in your contrarian thinking and invite you to bring it into the church. If you get kicked out of a few in the process, that's okay. Keep trying. You can always move to Menomonie and join Cedarbrook! Some of our best leaders have been reeled in from the fringes.

Over the next few days I will be looking at what it is about church that keeps so many good people away and the lessons we can learn. I hope you'll join me, invite a fellow discontent and even add your two cents worth to the discussion. Stay tuned.

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