Posted by: watchman | March 11, 2009

Stir It Up

I think Bob Marley had a great idea for a lot of churches.  We need to stir it up.

Reggae is in our blood around here, as evidenced by this picture which bares a shocking resemblance to Botolff.

The great Bob Marley gives us sound advice. Let’s stir it up.

Our little village has an abundance of churches, most of which seem very comfortable with our current situation: 86% of our area is unchurched. Recently, a new church plant moved into town, supported by a huge mother church. It immeadiatly became the biggest church in town. They have resources, staff, and are ministering in an attractional way that people find appealing. I was very excited to learn that a relative of mine has started attending there. So, they’re doing a good job.

However, the excitement of the new plant has drawn many young families away from established churches in our area. In a rural retirement community, young Christians are a commodity. Some of our local pastors have started to panic about this Exodus. But, I wonder why they are so surprised.

Commence Ranting.

You see, we have taught people to think like consumers when it comes to church. Remember Seeker Sensitive? For so long people have learned to shop for a church the way that you would shop for anything else in Western culture. What meets your needs? Who offers the most generational ministries? Who serves better coffee? blah… blah… blah…

This is creates an incredible amount of pressure on pastors to strive at being relevant, cutting edge and ahead of the rest.

Give me a break.

It is like Religious Darwinianism.

In order for a pastor to be successful, he has to be a constant innovator, a charismatic showman, and an aggressive salesman. He has to spy out the “competition” and stay ahead of the game. His job depends on it. His livelihood. The customers grow anxious easily. Their wanderlust is imminent.  The board of directors is nervous. Profits are down.

Lions, tigers, and bears… oh my!

No thanks.

A pastor would be wise to teach his people to be a community more than consumers.

Stir it up.

The American way is a lie. You can’t buy your way into happiness. So, why would we ever run a church based on such philosophy? What? you don’t think you have ever done that?

Have you ever allowed people to define the quality of your ministry in relation to their wants?

As pastors, we so often just follow the philosophies “more the merrier,” or “end justifies the means.” Good luck with that. When people start treating your church and their faith like they would a sidewalk sale, see how effective ministry becomes.

If you’re in minisrty, I’d challenge you to stir it up. Start teaching people to believe to love other people. Teach them to invest in relationships and community. Teach them about faith, not programming. You may never become a mega church, but you may just experience God somewhere along the way.

Rant complete.



  1. That’s a great picture Watchman! And yes, I agree…stunningly similar resemblance.

    I like the phrase…stir it up! Reminds me of a saying I like to use once in a while, “Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.” It works great for creating a space for the mystery of God to break through the repetition of man.

    I also like the saying…”Bring on more Marley!” I just made that up.

  2. “Bring on more Marley!”

    I actually, I think that is in one of the Epistles somewhere. You know, one of the ones we never read – 3 john I think.

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