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The Present Future, and associated thoughts

I just finished reading The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church by Reggie McNeal. He is a SBC pastor who uses this book to challenge the modern-day church to stop thinking so much like a club and start thinking more missionally. I don’t agree with everything he had to say, but there were some points that really hit home.

One of the big ones, that I’m still kinda working over right now, is the comment (and I’m paraphrasing throughout this post since I don’t have the book with me) that we are too church-based with our faith; our church culture is one where we don’t have many (or any) friends outside the church, and where we expect to deal with issues of faith at church rather than at home. He notes that there are too many couples that are embarrased to discuss their faith with each other at home, but are really active at church.

That one hits home with me. Not that I’m embarrassed to discuss my faith at home, but we don’t (discuss it) that much. We don’t do well at having devotions together. I’ll assign the fault to myself; it’s my job as the leader to see that it happens. And why don’t we? Because we’re “too busy”. Too busy, often, having to get to church to prepare for worship team, or to prepare for some church event, or to get to some church function. Now, perhaps there are other priority issues; the hour of TV most nights could be done away with, I suppose. But that doesn’t escape the fact that all of the efforts that I’m putting into “Christian” stuff, if I can call it that, are all church-focused, and none of them are outwardly-focused.

Part of me would really like to try this as an experiment: relinquish all of my church duties. Just stop. And then start to get things arranged in my own life and in our family life. Figure out what our needs and family things ought to be. Just to reassess. Then once I get that figured out, I can start figuring out where God wants me directed.

But there is the other side of my dilemma. I’m doing good stuff right now. I enjoy (for the most part) what I’m doing. I have a lot of people that count on me, for music at church, for technical help on ministry websites, etc etc. I can’t just leave them in the lurch… and the odds of my being able to gracefully exit from those responsibilities is next to nil.

So here I am. I don’t know what the right answer is right now. I think a lot of prayer is in order.

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