Taking the Gospel to the World Again
Let’s dance! Pastors, you and I have been to enough wedding receptions to know that most people aren’t very good dancers. Most pastors don’t even try, which might be a good thing. I have promised my wife, Lisa, that I would take dance lessons before our children get married. I’d hate to embarrass her in front of family and friends.
Oh, dear brother, when was the last time you cut a rug or busted a move? I’m not talking about on the dance floor, but in your ministry.
Paul’s words to the Thessalonians will encourage some and convict others. He wrote, “One final word, friends. We ask you – urge is more like it – that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life” (1 Thessalonians 4:1, Message).
It’s so easy to fall into the religious plod of pastoral ministry. Week after week of sermon preparation, prayer meetings, leadership development and pastoral care, which tests your capacity to care for people. Some of you faithfully print the bulletins, lead worship, teach Sunday school or lead a small group. You race for the emergency room, love on the senior adults, vacuum the floors and mow the lawn. You oversee every aspect of your church strategy. Exhausted yet? No wonder!
The religious plod is real and real dangerous. If we are not careful we can lose our joy. We begin to serve out of duty and not delight. We preach without passion, we lead without being led, and we serve empty. The religious plod.
Pastors, learn to dance again. Listen for heaven’s song. Discover His rhythm and keep in step with the Spirit. The living spirited dance is worth learning. It’s worth learning this summer! I know. I know. You have VBS to lead and mission trips to take. You have weddings to officiate and fall planning to do. Please stop.
The music is playing, and the floor is empty. The Bride and Groom need to dance —again. Go to the closet and get on your knees. Open His Word and listen carefully not for a sermon, but for His voice. Unplug, disconnect and renew. Living spirited – Dance!
Thank you to Rick Hancock for writing this Perspective on behalf of Dr. Michael Trammell, BCM/D President.