Peter Drucker says that an organization begins to die the day it begins to be run for the insiders and not for the outsiders. That is not only true in the business world; it is true in the church world. I know the only person that likes change is a wet baby, and they scream until the process is finished. Our culture has changed from Ozzie and Harriet Nelson to Ozzie and Sharon Osbourne.

I'm not saying that change is easy. Our church started a casual service, and I'll never forget being stopped by an irate member telling me that I was destroying the church by allowing people to serve that didn't wear a tie, to which I responded, "Yes, that is what ticked me off about Jesus, too — He never wore a tie." Now you know why I'm in the Pastor Protection Program and move from church to church. To me it seems simple. If Jesus was the true worshipper He was and He gave more glory to God than anyone, true worship would be what Jesus did. He didn't spend a lot of time in church. We don't have record of His singing any hymns — since they weren't written yet. He may have sung praise songs right out of the Psalms. Worship is more about reaching out a hand than raising our hands.

I listen to music that is irritating and watch videos over and over again. It's called Veggie Tales. They are about vegetables and called Silly Songs By Larry. They are silly. Yet I buy every one and watch them over and over again because my grandchildren are learning about God. The type of music doesn't matter so much when you are thinking about others. There are some people willing to sing songs they feel are silly because they believe they are reaching the next generation. Others will not sacrifice any of their songs even though the True Worshipper sacrificed His life so that others could be saved. Isn't it sad that many will not sacrifice tradition so others can learn the Truth.

It's like a football game. What if the team would not come out of the huddle and the coach sends in a player and asks, "What are you doing?" to which they respond, "Oh coach, we just love the huddle. We have such sweet spirit in our huddle. Please don't make us leave the huddle." What would the coach say? I believe he would know that they had lost their purpose. The huddle has become more important than playing the game. Many churches have been running the same plays for the last thirty years. No wonder they want to stay in the huddle. No team would be excited about leaving the huddle when they run the same play over and over again. It is great to have a play, but it is neurotic to fall in love with the play. Maybe we can use the huddle to call a new play. Try that and you might discover that people love their plays more than they want to win the game.

Jesus said that we should be fishers of men. Can you imagine asking a fisherman how he is doing and he says that he hasn't caught a fish all day. When you ask him what he is using for bait he says he is using blackberries. "Blackberries, why are you using blackberries?" "Because I love blackberries." You would think "Dumb fisherman." Many churches are fishing with blackberries and not catching any fish. You examine the church and find that it is more important to them to maintain the aquarium rather than fishing.

What's the bottom line? Let's continue the football analogy. The year that Troy Aikman retired there was an article on the editorial page of the newspaper. Troy and two other players had visited a children's hospital and visited a boy named J.P. who was dying of cancer. Troy gave him a cap, and J.P. asked him if he would throw a pass for him. Troy responded that he would do better than that. He would throw a touchdown pass for him. J.P.'s mom told Troy that he probably only had a few more weeks, and Troy told her not to worry — that he would get the job done.

The next week the Cowboys played in Mexico City at an exhibition game, and the first team only played a few series of downs and Troy did not play. J.P.'s mom said that he watched with interest. The following week was another preseason game. It was a hot night in Dallas and they were playing what some people would call a meaningless preseason game. The first team was only going to play the first quarter. Towards the end of the first quarter, the Cowboys were on the Oakland Raiders fifteen yard line. Troy reached back for a pass but all of a sudden he dashed for the end zone. Two Oakland Raiders tackled him there. J.P.'s mom said that the next day the Dallas press was unmerciful. How could Aikman risk injury in a preseason game? Here is what J.P.'s mom said. "Troy knew that it was not a meaningless game. He was helping a dying child that night."

Pastor, there is no such thing as a meaningless game when we are playing for dying people — people who are dead without Christ. What you will discover is that when a church plays for dying people, it becomes alive. It is the paradox that our Coach taught us.

    About the Author

  • Charles Lowery