As I began this new endeavor of pastoring a small church in Lucas, TX, the logical question that sat on my heart of course was, “Where do I start?” The elders and church in general have graciously given me a lot of freedom to chase what the Lord has placed on my heart. I know a lot of friends who have entered into a pastorate being told the same thing, but soon realized that unspoken expectations actually steered the ship. That being said, I truly am grateful to be able to blend the burdens on my heart with the lives of the people I am privileged to serve.
So as I spent my first few weeks ministering to this wonderful local body of believers, I brainstormed, considered what friends had told me about their first year of pastoring, and decided to be bold, diving head first into unchartered waters. Any time a leader is joining a new team, he must scope out the situation, take into account his team and resources, take aim for where the team needs to go, and boldly strike out a path to move his people toward that goal. In doing so, a leader not only gives direction, but equally important, sets the tone and culture for how we get there.
Being an advocate for pulling theology out of the sky and connecting it to the earthy tangible realities of life, and particularly how faith deeply connects to our work, I decided to revisit the grand narrative we find in scripture: Creation, Fall, Redemption, ReCreation. In my experience, framing life within this metanarrative (what Michael Horton prefers to call meganarrative), helps us as human being find our place within this vast universe in which we find ourselves. The problem that I have noticed though is that individuals who draw upon the metanarrative don’t know how to pull it out of the clouds. It has not been an uncommon experience seeing an excited presenter or teacher whip out the metanarrative as if it were a magic trick to wow the audience and upon completion they receive what is the equivalent of a golf clap, politely giving acknowledgement for their efforts; the crowds leave unchanged and a few, while curious, have the thought on their mind, “So what?”
I dare say that you may get the same reaction if you approach anyone and tell them, “Well you see, God created everything. Then we as humans, we fell from God’s graces when Adam and Eve sinned. But the good news is that Jesus died as a substitute for that sin and as a consequence we get to be with God forever and one day Jesus is coming back and all the world will be made new.” Now that may sound flippant, and I praise God he works in people’s hearts through small and big ways, but there is a point. The above statement is equivalent to teaching individuals calculus and never connecting it to real life applications; only a few will get excited because they like to solve problems, but most will nod their heads, remember it long enough to see its usefulness expire in getting a grade on a test, and forget it within two weeks because it doesn’t really connect with the day in day out reality of life. Are you tracking with me?
So my endeavor over the coming weeks, more likely months, is to reframe the metanarrative for my flock. And before the hairs on your neck rise and you get ready to hear some outlandish claim or “new” teaching in which you are drawing the sword of God to 2 Timothy 4:3-4, let me assure you, that’s not what I am doing. With extreme care, I want to preserve and exemplify the orthodox teachings of the faith, yet I want to help us gain new vantage points of viewing and indeed experiencing this same faith. In doing so, I hope to renew our excitement for the Word, and enable us to walk out into life with a heightened sensitivity of how God is seeking to collide with us on one hand and how the spheres of culture around us are doing a similar thing, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.
So buckle up, hold on tight, and stay tuned as I attempt this feat. In the next post, I will lay some ground work, a prolegomenon of sorts, in the area of Christian Education, its purposes, and an adjusted model for how we conceptualize how it actually works.