Greetings again bloggers!
I had this unique day a few weeks back here at Westminster. It was a Tuesday, this much I can remember because it had a whole bunch of meetings attached to it. The day began with me riding my bike to work, as is often the case. Upon arriving at the church, there was the customary cleaning out of the e-mail and catching up on phone messages (Monday is my day off, so Tuesdays usually start with some insanity and catch up). Then there was the staff meeting. On this particular day we were working on the calendaring session for the coming year. What events were going to go where. How did what we were doing in youth ministry connect with what children’s ministry was doing, etc. And full disclosure, I was already cranky at this point. A two hour meeting didn’t exactly help that.
After the full staff meeting, the pastors went out for lunch, because in summer time it was likely to be the last time the three of us were in the building at the same time in quite a while. We talked about the coming year, what Bible studies we were leading and what their topics would be. We did a little bit of worship planning. We ate fried food. I love so many things about my job at Westminster, and being part of a great team is one of them. The crankiness started to go away.
It came back immediately upon returning to my office, for you see I had been on vacation the week before this, and would be on vacation again the week following, so everyone on our (still great) team needed to see me about something. I was desperately trying to get some work done, but it was one of those days where I was interrupted about 6,000 times. The crank monster returned.
I moved on to posting one of our sermon videos on the church YouTube page, and so I was waiting for the file to compress. This was the last thing that needed to be done in my day. The only thing between me and freedom was this status bar that refused to fill in any faster than a snail’s pace. So while it was compressing, I was banging around Facebook and discovered my friend and youth ministry guru Marko had posted a video of a sermon he had preached that weekend at his home church, and so I tuned in.
It. Was. Amazing! Rest assured there will come a day when I will steal each and every point of his sermon and claim it as my own brilliant idea, but that day is not today. (I’m kidding).
And then just like that, the video finished compressing. I started the upload, got on my bike, and started pedaling for home. This of course, is when the mind clears. Focusing on just rolling the pedals over and over again is a great way to get some clarity about what’s going on in your day.
That’s when it hit me. Part of the reason that I loved that sermon so much was because Marko preached the heck out of it. But another, more sneaky part of why I loved that sermon so much was because I was reasonably sure it was the first time I had heard someone else speak the name of Jesus to me all day.
I work in a church. It took all day.
To be very clear, I’m not throwing my (still great) team under the bus. I don’t think I spoke the name of Jesus that day either. I hadn’t pointed out what Jesus was doing in my life, and no one had pointed out what Jesus was up to in theirs. When we were planning Bible studies we talked in broad strokes, and maybe mentioned a book in the Bible or two by name, but I’m reasonably sure I didn’t mention what I heard Jesus telling me to speak to our gathered congregation. If you put together an IMDB cast list by mention of my day, Jesus would be at the very bottom.
I want to be a little bit careful here. There are some who I think over-use the name of Jesus, to the point of perhaps taking the name in vain. There are some who use the word Jesus in their daily vocabulary like it is a coma, not the name of their Risen Savior. I don’t mean to cheapen the name of Jesus, or to say it just because we have to hit some sort of word count in the heavens.
But what I do think is important is for those of us who claim to be walking the Jesus way to occasionally point out from time to time what this Jesus is teaching us. I think it’s important to be mindful of what Jesus is doing in our lives, and to ask others what Jesus is doing in theirs. I think lifting up the name of Jesus should be done from time to time, particularly from those of us who are leaders in the church.
So my goal is to be the Jesus guy. It’s a goal I’m going to fail at for a little while, I’m sure. But it’s a goal none-the less. I want to be the guy who speaks Jesus into my friends’ lives, the way Marko spoke Jesus in to mine. I want to ask what Jesus is up to in the lives of those I gather with, not as some sort of pastoral interrogation, but because I’m genuinely curious to see how the Savior is at work in this place.
I’m going to lift up the name more. How can we do that better together?