Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I wouldn't do it that way

I’ve felt the need to reflect on my criticism of the Church As We Know It since it is the target of many of my blog entries lately. I want to know if I am guilty of the very things I am trying to point out. What prompted this reflection have been the conversations I’ve followed over the release of the recent Willow Creek study, REVEAL, which as I understand is a long, hard look at their own way of doing church.

My first exposure to WC was around 1994 when I went to one of their church leadership conferences. Many of us caught the virus then and returned home with it and as a result, unknowingly infected everything we touched. Worship services were overhauled. Print material was tweaked. All of a sudden stage lighting found a place in the budget. Even the clothing people wore on stage seemed to matter. It all made perfect sense back then.

Willow later implemented the Leadership Summit, of which I attended several. They always carried a spirit of quality and thoughtfulness. Each year Bill Hybels would devote an entire session to sharing leadership lessons, both successes and failures that their team has learned. It always seemed authentic even though later I knew I would never be trying to take the Church As We Know It in the direction they were going.

We are losing what we could call a “common narrative” these days. There is less and less that we in the West seem to agree upon. We are united around very little. Tom Brokaw calls the WWII generation “The Greatest Generation” because there was a common thread that wove them together. Adversity seems to do that to people (remember what it felt like after 9/11?) But with prosperity comes disillusionment, and that is nowhere more clear than in The Church As We Know It.

When our plans succeed, we may find that we never really knew what it was for which we were hoping. Willow succeeded, so to speak, and now seems to be reassessing what it is they are after. I credit them for that, even though their answers may not be mine. I am united with them in something bigger than method or practice. Faith holds a higher calling.

Every now and then, as my business grows and develops, I have to come back to this short song by the White Stripes, Little Room, and remind myself what in the world I’m doing when success comes my way.

Well you're in your little room and you're working on something good but if it's really good you're gonna need a bigger room and when you're in the bigger room you might not know what to do you might have to think of how you got started in your little room

© White Stripes, 2001 from the album, White Blood Cells

1 comment:

Tyson said...


This doesn't really relate to the post. Just caught some new music. Thought of you bro.


Check out "Kill My Darlings" and "It's Beautiful Once You're Out Here"