Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Who are We and What are we Supposed to do?

        Christians today need to be challenged with two questions.

1. Who are we?

2. What is God calling—or expecting—us to do?

They are not easy questions to ask or answer, but they are vital questions to consider.
        In writing about the ludicrous nature of some organizational statements of purpose, the late Peter Drucker said of hospitals that the very worst thing they could do is say that they are in the business of providing health care. The problem is, in Drucker’s analysis that hospitals should not be trying to take care of health. Instead, hospitals need to see themselves in the business of caring for people who are experiencing a crisis in health. It is people in crisis, not health care, that matters!
        When Jesus was challenged by those in authority that his disciples were not playing by the established rules and not doing things that were religiously appropriate, he countered their challenge by calling into question their assumptions of who they were and what their priorities truly were. The people had the outward appearance of dedicated religious individuals, but the thin façade of religiosity was inadequate to meet the challenges that come with living faithfully in the world.
        Drucker’s business analysis also looked at one of the most monumental failures in modern industrial and commercial history—the Ford Edsel. It was, perhaps the most thoroughly researched, engineered, and designed automobile of its day. On paper, it should have been the most successful product to ever roll off of a Ford assembly line. It’s failure, according to Drucker, centered in the fact that Edsel’s quality and cutting-edge technology existed only in the product, but not in the hearts and passions of Ford. A doom’s day mentality settled in at Ford and the greatest automobile ever designed, failed for lack of passion and devotion.
        So, as a person dedicated to the Christian faith, I must ask the questions: Who are we and what are we called to do?
        Who are we? First and foremost, we are children of our loving and living God as revealed in Jesus Christ. While that answer may seem trite to some and an oversimplification to others, it is perhaps the most profound statement we can make. We are part of God’s family. All we are and all we do reflects our understanding of what it means to be part of that family.
What are we called and empowered to do? We are a worshipping community of faith where all people grow in God’s grace, find acceptance and forgiveness in God’s love, are formed through Biblical witness, and are equipped for ministry in Jesus Christ.
It is important that we keep these points in the forefront of our actions for ministry. Rules, traditions, and customs have their place, but they are not the reason we exist as a congregation in Jesus Christ. Like the Pharisees and scribes of Jesus’ day, the danger we face is that of worshipping the tradition and upholding the letter of the law without regard to the ministry the tradition and law were developed to support. Together, let us be about the ministry of Jesus Christ that has been laid out for the family of God! 

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