In Australia, there is a name that has become synonymous with church success. It conjures up pictures of huge crowds, famous speakers and rock-concert worship bands. It evokes the ideal of big, bold and exciting. I have no wish to disparage this name, but it does concern me when it is implied, as it often is, that this is what we should all be striving for.
Have we become so intoxicated with the culture of celebrity and fame that we’ve molded even our church experience to reflect our infatuation? Does the worship always have to be awesome; the preaching inspiring; the service uplifting? Do we need the excitement of the mega-gathering to ensure the presence of God?
Is this the yardstick we use to measure the power and effectiveness of our faith experience, the success of our religious fervour?
What happens when the hype fades? When there’s no charismatic leader to whip up the crowd, no companions to get high with, no pounding beat to disguise the lonely trembling of our own heart. How do we respond when life is just ordinary… mundane… boring even?
We watch movies to see exciting people living exciting lives. In the world of film, even eating breakfast or attending a meeting can be something extraordinary. That’s what we watch for, that’s what we expect. We want to escape the mundanity of our own lives and be transported for an hour or two into another, more exciting realm. After all, who would pay to see ordinary, everyday people living out their ordinary, everyday lives?
|Just Another Boring Day at the Office?|
But has the Christian culture drunk too deeply from this intoxicating brew of excitement?
We are urged to do big things for God - to do great things for God. Is it just possible that the biggest, greatest thing many of us can actually do for God is to simply live our ordinary lives with love?
Will we love and befriend our husband, even if he’s not Chris Hemsworth!? Will we nurture and protect our children in a society which devalues parenting? Will we recognise the intrinsic worth of others, when they can't see it for themselves. Will we enter the lives of the hurting, the damaged, the 'unimportant' even when we know there will be no audience to witness our kindness, no crowd to applaud it?
Let's be wary of chasing celebrity and excitement, and learn instead the significance and worth of living our ordinary lives with love and bravery and holiness. Let's do this 'great thing' for Him.