I watch and visit a lot of local church worship experiences. Why would I choose to spend my time on this? First of all, it inspires me. To hear so many different places and people all proclaiming the same message and doing the same work—that just gets me going.
Although the message and the work is the same, there are also many differences among the churches on which I regularly keep an eye. The differences also serve as great inspiration. I love to see other churches proclaiming the same message through very different methods of communication. It gives me greater perspective on different passages of the Bible or just thoughts on who God is and who we are—like a modern day commentary.
My goal is to never copy any of the churches I view or visit, but to learn from all of them. I learn strategy and techniques. I learn identity about who I am and who I am not as a pastor and leader. I learn who we are as Matthews United Methodist Church and 801South, as well as who we are not.
Sometimes, however, other churches really make me mad.
Recently, I was watching the worship experience at Crosspoint Church in Nashville; which is a regular for me. When I watch other worship experiences online, I don’t spend time studying them carefully. Instead, I might have it on while I’m fixing breakfast for the family or doing the dishes following dinner. (Yes, I am running for husband and/or father of the year.) Recently, while listening to Pete Wilson’s message in the background, I became very mad when he presented an opportunity for his congregation to text in so that they can receive weekly text messages from Pete himself.
Why does that anger me? Because it’s awesome—that’s why! This is such a creative use of technology (and not even super innovative or expensive) to encourage people and spread the message of God. So guess what I did. I texted. And then this happened:
Obviously I’m not mad at Crosspoint. I’m mad at me (or myself for the English majors). I’m mad that we are not being as intentional to develop totally awesome and creative ideas to communicate the message and do the work.
So keeping my eye on other local churches also pushes me. And it all comes down to good ‘ol time management. You know why Crosspoint did something awesome? Because they thought of it. This takes time thinking. Thinking takes time. I am least creative or even responsive to God’s movement when I am most busy. To have great ideas, turns out that you have to think. Huh, who would have thought?
I want to spend more time thinking and less time dealing with the daily whirlwind of busyness so that we can eventually be even more effective with communicating the same message and doing the same work as Crosspoint, and all the other local churches.