It is easy to live in the past. Sometimes that is good; sometimes not so good. We can see that come out in several ways.
Church motto: The seven last words of the church- “We never did it that way before.”
You can see it in songs: Styx had a song “Tonight’s the night we make history” in which they lamented the death of the Paradise Theater and how it used to be the place to perform.
You can see it in life: People living in the past and talking about how things were. Only they say it another way: “Remember the good old days.” (Somehow I don’t think those who lived through the Depression would call it the good old days).
All that to say that many people spend too much time living in the past. Businesses that don’t progress die. Ball teams that rob their farm system for victories right now languish in the gutter for several years. And of course, churches that try to live on past glory will eventually become dinosaurs. I like the way someone put it:
Self-satisfaction is the death of progress.
Since I pastor a church I am obviously somewhat biased when it comes to this blog. I am concerned about the church becoming extinct in its influence in the world. The church will never become extinct because Jesus said, “I will build MY church and gates of hell will not prevail against it.” But our influence can certainly wane. I am also aware that some want to remain “relevant” and in the process compromise standards to do so. I see nothing wrong with using video, Power Point, drama (sort of a thing of the past), and others ways to teach the message. However, never NEVER should the message of the Good News of Jesus be shoved aside in an effort to reach people.
Too many churches want to live in the past. They revel in their glories. Meanwhile, monuments built years ago sit mostly empty as people leave in droves. The church simply has to stop saying, “I remember when God did thus and so. Those were great days.” We ought to be grateful for the encounter with God, that miracle, that divine intervention, but we simply cannot stay there.
That is what was cool for us this past weekend. And next weekend. I was able to share the Purpose of the church (OVCF), something I/we have never looked at before Sunday. I am totally stoked about this coming weekend. I can’t wait to share the future! No living in the past. No living in the “weres.”
How was your Sunday? Do you feel like your church spends too much time (re)living the past? How about you individually? What are you doing to make sure you look to the future?