This morning, my head is still reeling with some of the fantastic "wow" moments I had at Pacesetting Church Leadership School in Lansing a couple weeks ago. A few simple truths have already made a huge impact in my personal walk and my ministry.
Pastor Dave gave us a copy of his book "Emerging Leaders," where he wrote that he has previously given students an assignment to write down 50 things they want for their lives and ministries over the next 10 years. Trouble is, he says many students couldn't come up with 50! Well, I got to about 35 right away, and by week's end I had my 50 all filled out. It's really helpful to have it all down on paper. Writing the vision down clarifies my goals, and helps me have something to "shoot for." The dream becomes a plan. The plans will become reality. I can't wait to start checking off a few.
But the biggest "wow" moment was learning to walk in Kingdom Authority... where we live in the authentic, not the synthetic. Everything authentic is God-made. Synthetic is man-made. Synthetic says, "Thou must have stained glass windows or the Holy Spirit shall not showeth up in thine service." Synthetic says, "Thy men must weareth a tie and thy women must weareth skirts that covereth their ankles." But it also says, "You gotta water down the word and tickle their ears, or they're not gonna come to church! Just tell 'em Jesus loves them but don't tell the truth about all that other stuff. Give 'em what they want, not what they need." It also says, "Lose the shirt and tie... wear blue jeans or they'll think you're a hypocrite and a money-grubber. Gotta relate to the people!" Synthetic people follow a human formula for success. Authentic Christians follow Jesus. That's exactly what the Bible says the end times will be like. We're there now. We're living in a synthetic society. And synthetic is man-made religion. The Pharisees were synthetic. Jesus is authentic. I want to be authentic in my walk and ministry. Walking in Kingdom authority means we can pull heaven down to earth when we live as authentic Christians... studying the Word, worshiping, fasting and praying daily. When we live outside Kingdom authority, we make it difficult for God to bless us or reveal fresh vision.
So, I'm back in a shirt and tie on Sunday mornings. Why? Because I feel better about myself, that's who I am, and I preach better when I feel better. I won't pretend to be someone I'm not for the sake of man-made church growth formulas. Our church will go out of its way to welcome the tattoo-covered seeker in jeans and a t-shirt. We will preach the whole truth; the authentic word of God in love. Worship will be about Jesus, not the fact that the hymnals are collecting dust and cobwebs on a basement shelf.
Authetic... not synthetic. That's #51 on my list. Check!