Sunday, December 11, 2016


WNDITWB was once spoken to bring laughter to religious conventions and ministry workshops.  We've Never Done It This Way Before was similar to the WWJD bracelets of days gone by.  Today the religious landscape is peppered with break-out re-names; new names which seem to make a statement that the old denominational names are, shall we say, outdated?

Consider some of these churches you may recognize: Guts.  City Church.  Church on the Move.  Vertical Church.  Willow Creek.  Contact.  Real Church.  Destiny Church. The Gathering.  Liberty World.  These are names of churches, community churches, who are thriving in reaching America.

What I wish to accomplish in this brief note is to ask that we continue to imagine what can be for God that no one has yet to consider.  A few decades back, not many would have guessed that remarketing the church name would has this much impact.  My goal is not to create a new name for Memorial Drive (unless such would prove to be a positive move).

I am saying that one of the reasons name-branded congregations are stuck is partially due to the unwritten code of restrictions placed upon them by tradition; a factor that Jesus himself hit head-on.  He knew then and we should know by now that this is a real Kingdom problem.

I applaud churches, whether of new branding or old fame, who are creative.  It is this factor that is the difference maker.  Creativity is the hallmark sign of God.  It isn't decency.  It isn't order.  Jesus broke the backs of both of those.  It was the imagination of believers as to what God could do that broke the resistance barriers of the neighborhoods.

We are living in the same world Jesus and the disciples did.  People hurt.  Religion bullies.  The two don't match.  We are to be a people who must be ever ready to take what did work and dispense of it so that God can pull us into what does work for this age.  Words about such are easy to express.  Deeds toward such are most threatening because each generation seems to find something new that works and then eventually the very same generation works to see that we keep their ideas the law of God.

Don't let what once worked become the very factor that deadens the new church; your new church.  Whether Baptist or Guts or Church of Christ or Vertical Church, we must be aware that the Spirit of God will work in the hearts which are new.  The Word is most clear that man-orchestrated traditions shut the Kingdom down.  We must never take this lightly.

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