Merry Christmas, everyone! As you celebrate this holiday with people you love, take a minute to consider this question: Do my traditions look the same every year?
Do I always go to the same relative’s home? Is there a routine that we follow year in and year out?
As I sit in expectation of the Holy Spirit’s work at tonight’s Christmas Eve worship experiences, I also think about how different my holiday season is today than when I was younger. For almost 25 years, my Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years celebrations were basically identical. And I loved it.
So why is it different now than for so many years in the past? Every year, I waited in great anticipation of the familiar routines that my stable family afforded us as children. Our plans allowed space to spend time with essentially every relative every year. It was awesome. But then something happened:
Babies started having babies.
My cousins and I reproduced—literally. We started convincing unsuspecting victims to spend the rest of their lives hitched to our clan and then we mated with them. Naturally, things got complicated. Grandmothers and grandfathers became great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers. Mothers and fathers became grandmothers and grandfathers. Sons and daughters became fathers and mothers. Brothers and sisters became uncles and aunts. With all of these people moving into new roles, the previous schedules and travel plans no longer met the needs of everyone involved. So we changed them to accommodate the new family.
Reproduction is a major value and driver in 801South. Some think we should change the term to “multiplication,” because people will think we value making actual babies. Personally, I think baby making is a lot of fun (fun also happens to be one of the key values). But we really want to make spiritual babies. Our apprenticeship model in every aspect of the ministry is an intentional pattern to provide a deep one-on-one discipling relationship through which people will learn to follow Jesus in new ways. They will also be developed as leaders.
When these new spiritual babies grows up, they will then be a part of leading the spiritual baby making process. With all of these spiritual children running around and people moving into new roles, our systems will be in constant flux, because we will always be reproducing. The result will be a culture of change. Hopefully the words, “we’ve always done it like that” will never have the chance to be uttered.
So if you want routines and patterns to stay exactly the same forever, then never reproduce. However, if you would prefer to operate within a culture of change, then never stop reproducing. When we reproduce, change is required. We outgrow the previous systems, procedures, and structures. It might be easier to always keep things the same. But baby making is way more fun.