It Seems to Me …

. . . this is another list that is missing the “P” word! 
Recently, a seminary leader preached a sermon expressing his deep concern that his denomination had lost its spiritual compass and needed a resurgence. Many of us, from a wide variety of denominations and associations, would, sadly, agree. He called for a refocusing on the Great Commission. Bravo! would be our reply across the board. To accomplish this worthy, biblical objective, he proposed a rigorous 12 point agenda. So far, so good.

The agenda was a call to stop debating interesting points of doctrine and return to the basics of making Christian disciples who are capable of doing the same. Twelve back-to-basics, yet demanding, precepts/foundational truths of the faith at which the Christian Church is currently under achieving. Obeying the Great Commandment to love our neighbors in action not merely attitude. Taking time to develop our families into Christian families with the potential of influencing society and changing culture.  Centralizing the gospel in our lives for the glory of God. Reorganizing the systems of how our congregations function on 21st century realities. Realizing collaboration is essential, not optional, if we plan to significantly impact our communities. First and foremost, the lordship of Christ in every aspect of personal and church life and decision-making.

This list, as they say, will preach anywhere. I hope it will have much exposure in the preacher’s own denomination. And I trust many students at his seminary will take those 12 truths with them into their future ministries. But as powerful as the sermon may have been and as exhaustive as the full list may appear, I fear it was one item short of success. 

If you have walked through a convention hall viewing all the latest model vehicles at the annual Auto Show, you know that some of the most intriguing models are those identified as the cars-of-the-future. Forward thinking design and cutting edge technology. Striking beauty and efficiency. They look ready to go except they usually are missing one essential item: an engine. 

This latest “model” of how the Church can right itself looks beautiful and seems ready to go, except the engine is missing. Twelve essential truths and not one of them involved prayer. Twelve foundational calls to obedience and none of them enlisted or engaged the people of God in praying together (something the early Church assumed was critical to advancing the gospel).

The preacher might retort that prayer is needed in each of his twelve points and he would be correct. But that is also the problem. Teachers, preachers, and leaders who give us biblically based priorities and plans, programs and projects, without the engine power of prayer and praying. If prayer is vital to every point on the list, then, well, please make it obvious. Say it. List it. Explain it. Maybe we have not lost our spiritual compass; maybe we have merely forgotten how to communicate with the guide who holds it for us on this amazing race through life.

It seems to me this is another list that is missing the “P” word.

Pastor Phil

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