For 2019, I am very intentionally engaged on helping the church I serve to become healthy (healthier). Our church theme for the year is The Year of the Body, and our worship services, teachings, and even most events are geared toward that end. Much of this will be to (re-)apply what I teach at the seminary and what I am learning in my personal studies. As such, I plan to focus the blog on these items as well this year in order that you and, more importantly, your church might find some tips to become healthy (healthier) as well.
First, a disclaimer. My masters and doctoral degrees are both in the context of Christian Education. I chose this path, in part, because I am very practical. In fact, if someone asks me to describe myself, one of the first words out of my mouth is that I am pragmatic. I have become more theoretical in recent years, but I like to know how pieces of the puzzle fit. However, as I mature (hopefully), I am learning to allow others to work on the pieces while I lead the overall process. But still, I am pragmatic.
Why does this matter? Well, as followers of Christ, we are to be led by the Spirit. I absolutely agree. However, I also know that God made me the way I am. Additionally, I know that God is a God of order and we rely upon that order for our living (consider gravity). Order is often the result of systems, so it is not a stretch to say that God is a God of systems.
Think about Creation for just a moment. God could have created anything first. He could have created cows, fish, birds, etc. before creating the earth. But if He did, then these creatures would have been floating around somewhere. In fact, the order of Creation is important because without light (Day 1) and water (Day 2), the plants could not have survived. Without plants (Day 3) the other living creatures (Day 4-6) could not survive. So, order and systems are important.
And that is why I chose Christian Education as my path. I like order. I like systems. I like when things have a plan and a purpose and everything fits together as it should. Of course, I will admit that this can paralyze me at times because if I am not certain on whether something is the right fit, then I take more time (and often too much time). Fortunately, I have outgrown this problem in most areas of my life (with the significant exception of what gaming system to buy or if I should even buy one!).
Why do I provide this disclaimer? Because in the coming months, the items I share in this blog will be part of what I share in my church and in the classes I teach. The items will largely be practical steps to serve as a help to others (as well as a reminder to me). But some may contend that the ideas are too practical, that is, they do not leave room for the Holy Spirit. That idea is not my intention. The Bible is explicit in the purpose of the Holy Spirit – to comfort us, to guide us, to teach us into all truth, etc. (See John 14-16 for Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit.) So, I am not trying to negate the work of the Spirit, rather I am trying to encourage us to do our part of applying God-given principles and systems to allow the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do. After all, Jesus said that we are to worship is spirit (freedom) and truth (principles), so we must engage in both to be successful (John 4.24). Additionally, Proverbs 16.9 reminds us that we are to make our plans while allowing God to direct our steps.
Therefore, over these next several months, I will be sharing some principles while also providing some possible points of application to help you (and me) to find ways to strengthen our lives individually and our churches collectively as we seek to become the people God wants us to be allowing us to become the Church Jesus desires to build and expand the Kingdom that is already in place, but not fully realized – yet!