Pursuing Good — Special

PursuingGoodSpecial

What do you think of when you hear these phrases?

  • Your special someone.
  • A special day.
  • The daily special at your favorite restaurant.

I bet you thought of something or someone specific, or could, for each of those ideas.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

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Pursuing Good: Appropriate

pursuinggood_appropriate

I remember visiting a church with my family following the horrific attacks of 9/11. To be honest, I was not completely sure how I was feeling. I am sure you can relate. How odd was it that this church barely mentioned those events and did not seem to alter their service in any way. I left with nothing. Whatever that service was, it was not good… and we never went back.

I live within a few miles of Charlotte, NC. Recently our city made national news with the tragic police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the subsequent protests. This was a time to stand with people who were hurting, to prophetically speak to power, and pray for our police officers. Among the members of our church, we had police officers assisting in the crowd control and congregants joining the protests! I didn’t say this was easy. That’s a lot of emotion to deal with. (And please forgive me for using this tragedy as an illustration. I know how intense it is and that is what makes this conversation about our ministry so critical. Of course I feel that weight. I’m feeling it now.) In fear of not offending anyone or fear of saying the wrong thing, I shudder to think how many congregations completely ignored the entire thing. Shameful.

These examples reveal responses that were neither suitable nor proper (the very definition of appropriate).

If you recall the backstory behind these pursuit of good posts, the example that sparked it all was examining what made an actor good. The characteristic about being appropriate had everything to do with body language and how an actor uses their body as an instrument to convey what is appropriate in a scene. This is an apt metaphor. Are we comfortable in our own skin as the body of Christ?

To be appropriate, we need both emotional range and spiritual fortitude/muscle to wade into these deep waters.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

Pursuing Good: Complete

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In my recent post Pursuing Good: The Backstory, I began to process what makes something good. I ran into a couple of articles that really helped propel this idea forward. I even started to address the bad press we give good as opposed to great or excellent. I’ll continue to focus on that tension.

Here are the characteristics of a good service. A service is good when it is…

  1. authentic
  2. surprising
  3. exposing vulnerability
  4. interesting (with a by product of my engagement)
  5. appropriate
  6. complete or full (delivers on the expectation)
  7. special
  8. smooth in transitions
  9. purposeful (or communicating a point)
  10. impeccably executed

In this post, let’s do a deeper dive in #6—a service is good when it is complete. As usual, let’s start with a definition to get on the same page:

complete |kəmˈplēt| adjective
having all the necessary or appropriate parts
• entire; full
• having run its full course
(often used for emphasis) to the greatest extent or degree; total
Apple Dictionary v2.2.1

Let’s go.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

Pursuing Good: Interesting

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Everyone loves to talk about creating and being excellent. I’m not so into that, you could say. Instead, though it is not nearly as impressive, I like to consider what makes my work as a church technical artist good. Excellent is about being extremely good. In my opinion, if you have not mastered good, you should stop talking about excellence. Also, I am tired of the one-upmanship, the bigger and better, surrounding the idea of excellence. When God created the world He declared it good, pleasant, agreeable. That’s good enough for me.

So instead of sounding off about what I don’t like, I am attempting to flesh out a better way. A way of good. I am applying this to how we do our work around the Sunday morning service, but these characteristics create a framework for any endeavor. In no way am I advocating for shoddy work. As we uncover these characteristics, we’ll see that they are challenging and demand more from us than perhaps we are doing now. Even if we call our work excellent.

So far, I have discussed that a service is good when it is authentic, surprising, and exposing vulnerability. Today we are talking about the next characteristic, a service is good when it is interesting. [FYI, I have 10 in total!]
If you’d like to discover where this framework came from, I talked about the backstory in my first post in this series.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

Fresh Air and New Eyes


As I look back on 40plus years of my walk with Christ, I am mindful of some big twists and turns in the road. The journey has not been a straight line. Please allow me to indulge in some personal reflection and then I’ll bring this back into a local church framework.

Have you ever heard a story of a child caught smoking cigarettes by a parent, and in order to “cure” them of the desire to smoke, the parent forces them to smoke an entire pack? Of course, the child becomes so sick, they never smoke again. The unpleasantness of the experience cures them of any future desire.

This is one picture I would use to describes my ministry journey. God has placed me in some toxic environments. They have each made me sick in their unique way. But I’m not throwing the baby out with the bath water. The toxic atmospheres have made me desire good air even more. I long for the purity and health that is the Kingdom of Heaven, that Jesus inaugurated, that God promises us now.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.