Since it is Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, and since there is nothing else compelling on TV right now, Andrea and I have been watching some of the shark programming at night. We are both filled with a bit of awe because of the shark (amazing creatures) and the craziness of people who study them (like getting into a cage with a shark.
During one of last night’s shows, the scientist/shark observers were attempting to lure a shark into clear cylinder to see how the shark would respond…and most importantly whether or not the shark could swim backwards. After the shark tried moving through the cylinder a few times with no success, the shark essentially folded itself in half to get out of the cylinder. It was amazing to see.
So I’ve learned two things about sharks this week.
- Sharks must always keep moving. When they stop moving they begin to die.
- Sharks can only go forwards, not backwards.
That sounds like a great lesson for us as Christians and as the Church.
As the Church, we are a living breathing organism. The Church is to be on the move- filled with purpose. We must know who we are and what God calls us to do in our congregations and in our communities. The Church is not designed to take a break, stop growing, or stop making an impact on the community. The Church is designed to be a dynamic presence in the world because of Jesus Christ.
The Shark teaches us about forward motion rather than moving backwards. How many times in our church meetings have you heard “That’s not the way we’ve done it before?” or “Why can’t our music program be like we had back in the day?” This is backwards motion talk. The speaker wants to recreate the past without taking into consideration the changes that have taken place to get to the present. There are better, more forward motion questions that we should be asking as a church, like…
- Who are we called to minister to?
- How are we going to best share the gospel in our community?
- How is God calling us to grow as a Church?
- What unique gifts and talents do we possess as a Church and how can they be used to share the Good News of Jesus Christ?
- Does our giving reflect the ways in which God is calling us today (and tomorrow)?
As the shark can only move forward, the Church of Jesus Christ has a mission to fulfill- that the kingdom of God would be revealed here on earth. May you be blessed this shark week as you move forward for the kingdom.
Coming tomorrow…pt. 2