the baby and the bathwater

The Next Big Thing
August 14, 2009, 10:42 am
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Is it just me, or are more and more people in the church looking for the next big thing? The next big thing in worship. The next big teaching thing. The next big emotional experience thing. The next big ministry thing.

And maybe I am a little guilty of that too. When I lead worship I probably sometimes want to be recognised as the most creative, the most fresh, the most inspiring. The most ‘Big’. And I have certainly heard many speakers, and TV evangelists, and leaders who give me the same impression. To make a mark, so it seems, you need to be sensationalist, exciting, dramatic, emotive. Big. And very probably behind all of those things there is a good intention – to seek for and search for the wonderful things of God. The miraculous, the amazing, the outpouring, the revival. I certainly want to see all of those things.

But more often than not, it seems that the walk I walk with Jesus is more about just doing the next little thing, making the next small step. Working hard at the next worship song, preparing for the next worship set, working hard at the next talk, spending an hour with the younger worship leader. Making the next little step of obedience. And if the big thing does come, it seems just to creep up on you and surprise you as you go about your everyday business.

In fact it seems to me that to be significant in the Kingdom more often than not you just need to learn how to take small steps of obedience consistently and faithfully.

If I look back over the life of our church here in Cheltenham, I have seen many amazing things. But the things that have lasted have not tended to have been those heralded in as the next Big Thing, but the things that have crept into the life of the church one small step at a time.

Boring, unexciting, old-fashioned, uninspiring, familiar. They are all words that can so easily be banded around, especially when your journey is marked with small steps rather than giant leaps. But as I close another year in ministry, and head off for a couple of weeks with my family to a camp site in France, it is a time for reflection, a time to revisit family and ministry priorities. Part of me wants to come back with a huge leap in mind. But I am pretty sure that I will come back – hopefully refreshed and relaxed, hopefully reconnected more deeply with my family, hopefully having read the mountain of books I have just bought for the trip – but mainly armed with just a sense of where the next few small steps will take me.

That, it seems, may not be the path of fame, or recognition. It almost certainly won’t look big.

But maybe in it’s smallness and apparent insignificance, it will be the path of fruitfulness.

See you in September


Back from New Wine
August 9, 2009, 6:20 pm
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Great week: highlights.

– spending time with the Rooster. 10 years ago at new wine I didn’t get him. Now I do. Probably for me the most significant voice on worship for us.

– leading worship in ‘Our Place’ – the special needs tent – on Saturday afternoon. I am never going to complain again.

– there was a deaf man in venue 1. He wasn’t even a Christian. He pointed to his ears and said that he couldn’t hear the worship. He pointed to his heart and said he could feel it. HE WASN’T A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, HE COULDN”T EVEN HEAR THE MUSIC, BUT HE FELT THE WORSHIP. It is true. it’s not just about great sounds, but a connection of the heart.

– ‘Saving Grace’ really rocked. Maybe I can write fast songs.

I may even come back again. 10 years leading here at new wine and it is still amazing.

Off to New Wine
August 2, 2009, 8:09 am
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Bought some new wellies.