It’s a Homerun… Or is it?
Sometimes it can be a fine line between a home run and a dramatic out in baseball. At a recent Seattle Mariners game, one of rival San Diego Padres hitters sent a long fly ball over the center field fence. Just as the ball was leaving the park, star outfielder Julio Rodriguez leapt into the air, stretching his glove high over the fence – and then – came down again in apparent defeat. The Padres hitter broke out into a home run trot around the bases. Rodriguez trudged several steps away from the fence, then grinned and slowly revealed to nearby fans that there was in fact a ball nestled in his mitt. The Sporting News ran the following headline:
The batter’s goal was to hit a home run. The outfielder’s goal was to stop him. Only one could be successful.
When it comes to goals in church life, thankfully it’s not quite so black and white. There are degrees of success that we can achieve. But to make progress, goals are necessary.
On Sunday, August 27, our elected leaders (Elders, Deacons, the Senior Leadership Team) got together to prayerfully discern some audacious goals for the church for the coming year, three in total, one for each of the three dimensions in which we envision the Holy Spirit helping us to grow:
UP in worship, IN with deeper community life, and OUT in service and outreach.
In particular, the UP goal for the year ahead is as follows: We are called to be a body of believers that embodies Colossians 3:17:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Worship is all-of-life, inside and outside the Sanctuary!
Now, we can fall for the error that worship is merely what happens inside a church building on Sunday morning. No way! Real worship is far bigger and extends to every domain of life. If you’re a school teacher and approach your vocation – trying to educate and nurture the kids in your care – as an act of obedience to Jesus? That’s a worship home run. If you’re a lawyer who pursues your craft with honesty, integrity and openness because that’s what Jesus asks you to do today? Your life is a worship home run. You drive a bus, plumb, design electronics, raise children because that is what God is asking you to do with your life right now? All worship home runs. Every sphere of life offers an opportunity to follow Jesus more nearly, because he is already there. There is no square inch under heaven where our Lord Jesus is not already present.
When we experience the power and presence of God inside or outside of church walls, there’s nobody (not even a talented outfielder) and nothing that can rob our joy.