Today began, as most Mondays do for me, at about 4:30 AM, when I rise to prepare for the core group meeting on our porch at 5:00. As they have been recently, they were early. I popped in an iWorship DVD to start our meeting with a few songs. Now, granted, I think that 2 of the 3 songs were new to the group, so I can understand a little hesitancy on the part of some to join in singing. But the other song was “How Great Thou Art.” The arrangement’s a little different than we normally sing it, but we just sang it this way 2 weeks ago. But most of the students sat in silence and just stared at the screen or looked like they were having trouble keeping their eyes open. This was ironic, because the subject we were tackling this morning was the passivity of the church members, especially during the singing. There was a part of me that wanted to shout, “Hey! Maybe this is why the members are passive; we’re passive!” but I restrained myself. I tried to give a few points on leadership and talk to the group about setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, result-oriented and time-bound) goals. Then we started our discussion about improving the worship in our church. It usually takes some time after I ask a question before I get any response. I try not to call on someone to answer a question, but that seems to be the most effective way to elicit a response. It strikes me that each of the students has an answer on the tip of his or her tongue but will not volunteer that answer unless they are specifically called upon. They did manage to come up with a goal, though. “We will have a congregation that worships in Spirit and in truth. Everyone is participating in singing, listening attentively, bringing their Bibles (?), and participating in church vision and ministry. By the end of 2005, we will have designed a worship service that fits our people.” There are several of the SMART criteria that this goal fails to meet, but I really had to press them for specifics to get this much done. Sometimes, I feel like the group members leave out important details, but when I make a statement based on the information I have been given, they courteously correct my misunderstanding about the details. We still made a little progress and decided to do some informal surveying of the people in the preaching points regarding their worship style preferences and hopefully educating them both about worship and the importance of their finding a place of ministry in the local church. Frankly, I’m still a little reluctant to pose the question that probably most needs to be asked: “What do we want our church to look like?” I’m afraid that I will hear that they want a megachurch. I’m not really interested in building that kind of ministry, but it seems that is where our methodology is headed. If they are bold enough to say that is what they want, I may be bold enough to recommend that they find a different mentor.
I had 2 boys come and work for me at 4:00 this afternoon, a rare thing indeed. I told them that I needed one to burn the trash and the other to cut the grass on the west side of the house. While I went to get a bolo and matches, they began to quarrel about who would do what, but they had it worked out before I reappeared. I didn’t check on them for several minutes. When I came out, the one who was supposed to be cutting the tall grass and weeds was actually digging up every plant on the side of the house, grass and all. I explained to him that I only wanted the broadleaf plants removed, but he still was preparing to dig up grass. So I sent him over to the area with taller vegetation and told him to chop with the bolo.