I saw a word the other day that really bugged me. I think it’s because I see how it could creep into our culture as a church.
Velleity- a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action
One of my greatest fears is that we allow velleity to be at play in our volunteer culture. I think it’s an easy road to get on. It’s easy to enjoy what we do, but not allow that to compel us to action.
I think we could easily morph into a country club culture. We love coming and hanging out with our friends. BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE CHURCH IS! We are the medium God has chosen to use to influence the world for His sake. Sure we love each other and enjoy the company, but that is only a by-product.
Let me give you some real life examples of velleity:
- I love the church BUT I’m not going to show up on time.
- I love the church BUT I’m not going to contribute.
- I love the church BUT I’m not going to go out of my way to help somebody else.
- I love the church BUT I’m not going to give my hard earned money to it.
- I love the church BUT I’m not going to invite anybody.
- I love the church BUT I’m not going to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people I don’t know.
- I love the church BUT I’m not going to be engaged in the experience.
- I love the church BUT I’m not doing anything I don’t want to do.
- I love the church BUT I’m not going to put in extra effort. That’s the pastors job.
I honestly believe we will never reach our full potential unless passion that leads to action is the dominant mentality of the majority. There is a term called critical mass. It basically means that once a significant portion of a group is on the same page then momentum, change and velocity is achievable.
You’ve got the right (ryyyee-eee-iii-eee-ite) to say no… to velleity.
So it never fails that when I think that I do a terrible job preaching on Sunday, I get more compliments and “I needed thats” than any other time. Conversely, when I think I do pretty good (you never think you do THAT good if you have an ounce of honesty in your body) people never really say anything.
Maybe they recognize the struggle and are just being cordial? Maybe they are just throwin’ me a bone? But I have a suspicion there is more going on. I think about 2 Corinthians 12:9 where it says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”I believe that even in what I perceive as a failure or poor “performance”, God sees as an opportunity to remind me that it’s not about me. This is His deal, His church and we are His people.
Though our circumstances may differ, the principle remains the same. Whatever areas that you feel deficient in are areas for God to show His gracious strength in and through you. After all, just like the church is not mine, our lives are not our own. They are His, and He can and does choose to use our weakness and foolishness to show His strength and wisdom.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m weak… and I suppose that’s a good thing.
Philippians 2 says to “watch out for dogs”. I was thinking about this in my oversimplified cranium and had a thought.
We’ve all had the unfortunate privilege of experiencing dogs do some unusual things. One of those things is sniffing each other rear ends. This nasty display got me to thinking about Paul’s warning in Philippians.
This is my strange thought: Don’t go sniffing people looking for something that stinks. Any yahoo can find faults in other people. Rather than sniffing out their flaws we should find the good in each other to celebrate.
Watch out for the people that are always critical and cynical. Set the tenor of your relationships by having a proper, God-centered approach. We are all God’s creation so there is without question something that you can celebrate about every person.
Don’t be a dog!
I heard a quote last week that was cheesy, but insightful:
“It’s not about X’s and O’s. It’s about Jimmy’s and Joe’s.”
If you know me, then you know that quote was used in a sports-related context. However, it very much carries over to our efforts as a church. Let me explain.
The intent of the quote is that what you do isn’t as important as who you do it with. Of course, in a sport this seems obvious. You can have a great system, but if you don’t have the right people to execute the plan then you’re not going to be effective.
What excites me about this idea is that I’m convinced that we have the right Jimmy’s and Joe’s on our team. God has been so precise in sending exactly what we need as far as skills, talents and personnel.
Sure, I feel like we have a great plan as a church. We have a clear mission to lead people to live and move and have their being in Jesus Christ. But even more important than that, we have the right people to carry out that directive!