After a two week hiatus I feel it is now time for me to blog again on a farily “regular” basis (about once a week). During my “time off” I have learned a lot about myself, this blog and where God is taking Compass Point Church. It was a time of re-evaluating my calling, passion, priorities and where God is leading me in every area of my life. Through it all I have learned the value, strengths and…limitations of myself…and blogging.
Before I went semi-dark I left a vague posting. I must admit that…at the time…I was bored with blogging and reading blogs. They…I…had become a clone of what everyone else was writing in the blogosphere. It was sad…uninspiring…and definitely not where my mind and heart were at. For me…I’m more about tomorrow…the next great mountain to climb. Most of what is being written, blogged about or published right now is today’s news…which for me is really yesterday’s news. I am moved by what could be…what is still yet to come…what is truly innovative.
Obviously I have become very aware over the last several weeks that people read blogs…this blog. When you look at the TypePad stats page you just see a Google search listing or click link…you never really know the true identity of who actually reads the blog postings. No one was more surprised than I when one of those readers turned out to be a writer for the Associated Press…or the producer of a cable news network program. It was the craziness of the last two weeks that has taught me that blogging is important…and needed. Blogging…unlike magazines and books…is immediate, accessible and timeless. It can stir people’s emotions or inspire their dreams. It is…for all practical purposes…a fairly pure form of communication and information.
Yet with the ease and influence of blogging also comes a huge responsibility. For me that involves content and direction. I realized in my time off that there were just too many topics, ideas and goals trying to be put forth here. I was trying to communicate to my church, my friends, my church planting peers and my acquaintances in pastoral leadership. In the process, any real message was getting lost among the stories about my life, personal opinion about current events and recommendations for classic rock albums. I have come to realize that I do not need an online diary as much I feel passionate about talking about the future of church. I have also come to realize that the things I want to convey to my church are completely different from what I want to convey to the world. For that reason I have set up a completely separate blog for my flock. Not that they won’t also read this one…it’s just that the other blog is directly for them.
God has blessed me over the last two years with the ability to reach, communicate and befriend people much younger than me. I have no clue what that says about my maturity level, but I do consider it a privilege when a 23-year-old asks me to join him for a Flaming Lips concert or a 20-year-old considers me his friend…not just his pastor. With this “inside look” at what young 20-somethings desire in their spiritual life comes a basic understanding of what tomorrow’s churches need to look like. It is much different that what is popular…and successful today. The days of a building a high-tech worship center, mailing out a few postcards and waiting for people to show up to hear a “relevant” topical message are coming to a close. In fact, the church of tomorrow will no longer be defined strictly about what happens on Sunday. It will be defined by their ability to create community, serve others, individually shepherd, display authenticity and preach the truths of the Bible with very little window-dressing.
I do not perceive to be an expert, yet I am observing first hand…and gaining much knowledge…about the change in culture, attitudes and needs from younger Christians and non-Christians. Not just in Lakeland, but in the hundreds of emails, phone calls and conversations that I have had over the last year…particularly in the last month. The modern churches of today provide a great foundation of ideas for tomorrow and are a catalyst for future leadership. However, some of the churches that are hot today are “dinosaurs eating buttercups while the cold sets in” if they continue to hold on to the importance that style, strategy and structure are “hills to die on”. The inerrant Word of God is the only constant to build a church on…everything else is expendable. Post-modern churches are a style. “Big Idea” church leadership planning is a structure. Multi-site churches are a strategy. They are also albatrosses around the neck of the Church if they are given undo importance. They are good foundations to build off of…but they too will change…must change…in the days to come.
There is a new day dawning in the world of church leadership…and church planting. This blog will continue to push for new commentary, new ideas and new concepts concerning what that day may look like. It will not focus on Compass Point, my personal life or the next Aerosmith album. Those days are gone. The future of the Kingdom of God and His church is just too important to waste this kind of forum on such trivial matters.