One Mark Of An Alive Church

A few of us cleaned and reorganized the backstage area of one of the worship spaces in our building this weekend. We just finished a big season and it was a mess. In addition to the usual worship band components on the stage over the last few weeks, we’ve also had several strikes and sets. The community band used the stage for a program and the drama team had a performance in that same space. We’re also gearing up for Upward Sports, which meant some of what we had stored in the chair closet now had to be rearranged backstage so the weekly turn around from worship to sports can be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. We really made some good progress in just a couple hours. And we joked how quickly it will probably get messed up again.

I began reflecting on what it means when there’s so much happening on the stage or backstage. An alive church is purposeful but also active. The building is a home base all week or at least weekly for the church to move in and out as they serve Christ through the community and region.

An alive church will have students and kids who have the potential to be all over the board. There will be activities, meetings, gatherings and who knows what all as faithful leaders minister with the next generation. There will be ministry that doesn’t fit into neat tidy little areas on the calendar. There will be requests that we’re not sure what do with. There will be storage issues that can’t be solved overnight.

There will always be a level of craziness in ministry. There’s no way around it. First off, there will never be enough space, there often won’t be enough volunteers, and there will always be tough financial decisions to make about what gets priority.

And though a church can be intentional, disciplined. and well managed, one mark of an alive church will always be a certain level of chaos.

Don’t let that scare you as a leader.

If you as the leader know everything going on and have control over it all, you’re not going to get very far. In fact, you’re probably holding things back!

When I think about this type of chaos around a church building, I’m reminded of Proverb 14:4 which says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.”

Sure, a clean, tidy, simplified church building and schedule is nice to look at, but does it have the strength to bring about abundant harvests? If there is life-changing ministry happening through your church, you probably already know that you’re hanging on for dear life as you take the ride.

I’ll trade a seasonal mess for abudant harvests anyday of the week. We need to improve, create good systems, be intentional and all the other good leadership stuff, but there’s also beauty in the wild. A little bit of chaos is one mark for an alive church.

2 Responses

  1. Nancy Craig

    Wow! I needed to read this today! It is exactly what our church is going through. We are doing things differently with what God has given us – our building. And it’s stressful and messy but also exciting and blessed. And I continue to be amazed at how well it’s going!
    God bless your ministry,
    Nancy Craig – Sullivan First UMC

  2. That’s cool… praise the Lord.

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