Over the past few months, there have been a lot of changes in my life. I have moved back to my hometown after 12 years of being elsewhere. I left the denomination that nurtured me theologically and where I spent all of my first years of ministry.
In this time of transition I have been forced to go back to the essentials. I read a lot of blogs and articles by church planters, leaders, and pastors, and there seems to be something missing. I don't think it is intentional. Writers and leaders tend to speak and write about what they perceive to be missing. John Maxwell spoke almost exclusively on leadership because that was an area he saw as lacking. Warren spoke on the Purpose of the church. Others speak of technology, culture, and relevancy. All of these things are good.
What I am afraid often happens, though, is that they become the focus. I was reading Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline yesterday. His chapter on Simplicty proved very convicting (a word that we hear little about). When things other than God become the focus, we become "lost."
Technology, relevancy, even theology are all well and good, but if they replace a pastor/planter's desire for all of God or take the place of being the focal point of the ministry we are focusing on the wrong thing. "Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added." The danger is to begin depending upon all these things rather than to seek the Kingdom of God.
There is a balance needed. We cannot neglect our need to grow in leadership, use technology as a tool, speak to people where they are at, and "seeking the kingdom" does not allow us to be irrelevant, negligent of good tools, or lacking in leadership. But these things can become the proverbial "tail that wags the dog."
The focus of our writing, reading, speaking, etc demonstrates whether our hearts are in the right place. Where we spend our time is of equal importance. I was reading several blogs of church planters whose day included a half-hour of time spent with God. Time spent in the car was listening to sermons, and the rest of the day was activity and busy-ness.
Is there a set amount of time we should spend with God? No, but I doubt a half-hour is sufficient. Are things we have to do? Yes, but where is the silence and solitude?
I don't think I have done justice to what is stirring inside me, but I know that just as the modern church was accused of making "seeker friendly," "structures," and "marketing" a god, many today are making technology, cultural-relevance, and "hip-ness" a god. What would happen if we as pastors/planters sought after God first and gave him the majority of our time, and then did what he led us to do?