Hello hello hello… Last week for the first time in a year and a half, I was sick on Sunday. Not being with Missio Dei that night was one of the most uncomfortable experiences that I’ve had in recent memory. I was sure it would have been foolish for me to try to lead that Sunday; but unsure whether I had the right not to be there. One of the members wrote after the meeting saying that things went well, I was really happy to hear it.

Building a church is, or better said should be, more about the people than the pastor. Now I know that there are those that prefer to have everything under their control. The truth be told, I have a hard time letting go of some stuff myself; for example, I will probably will always want to teach, and think I lead meetings better than most. But I’m certain that a better way to run things is to let people find what they do best, and run with it.

That said my dual employment is proving more difficult than I had hoped. I am in Hollywood 55+ hours a week, and can’t effectively cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s; study, rehearse, teach, and connect with the community like I could when I was in Pomona all day. This experience has however really helped me understand how much a church asks of people when we ask full-time workers to volunteer. It’s why I think that many large churches use mostly paid staff. In the postmodern economy, people just don’t have much time to help out volunteering. The American expression of finance and labor, combined with Californian commuting demands, produces a social toll on the individual that severely limits what we can expect out of our members. Worship shouldn’t be a chore, it should be a respite.

And yet “a respite” can also be thought of as a vacation; and vacations can be relaxing, or exciting, it really depends on what you prefer. Now my wife and I enjoy vacationing in the city. Cities are the center of human evolution. They are full of life and culture, new births, and expanding boundaries. In fact, even though God’s creation begins as a garden, in the End we see the creation perfected as a city. I work in a city now, and everyday I see hard working people; in the office, on the streets, on telephones and in taxis. Black people and brown people, shades of Asian beige and European pinks. Everyone up, out, and on the move… everywhere and all the time. A million different stories overlapping, and all of us connected by our common humanity. It’s exciting to be honest. Just the kind of place that I imagine Jesus would be living.

That certainly has put an exclamation point onto my frustration with folks with no passion for growth or vision for the future. The Christian ministry can be a sleepy experience if you’re not careful; short slow days that accomplish little except for self indulgent conversation. I’m convinced that, that can’t be the best way to live for God. The Christian life should be vital, dynamic, exciting and intense. If that’s not the way you’re living, let me kindly suggest, you’re missing a big part of the resurrection story. What have you done with what God has given you? Are you asleep or are you alive… either way, the truth is, things like this aren’t secrets. God knows, the World knows, and your heart knows. Therefore the Apostle says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine, make day dawn upon you, and give you light. ” And likely, a lot of smiles, and a little excitement.