Thoughtful Service: Excellence in a Few Things Rather than Mediocrity in Many
One of the hardest things to say in life is “No”. Who really wants to be the person who is known for saying no all the time? We want to be the person who says “Yes!” At yet, every “No” has a hidden “Yes” behind it. And every “Yes” has a hidden “No” behind it. Let me give you an example.
This Sunday is our week to lead worship at the Cascades. It is truly one of the most enjoyable parts of my month because I have the chance to preach the same sermon on the same morning to two very different groups of people. There is something about the experience of worshipping with two different bodies of believers that lifts up my soul. So I am delighted each month to say “Yes” on behalf of our church when it comes to leading worship at the Cascades.
But in the very same breath, each month, I am saying “No.”
I am saying no to the question, “Can you help setup Palmetto Family Orthodontics for our worship service?” I am saying no to the question, “Can you greet the first-time visitors that may show up before worship that morning?” And I am saying no to the question, “Can you help your wife with your son for a few minutes before worship?” My one yes involves at least three other big no’s.
And yet those things still have to be done.
So this Sunday we will have a group of members arrive early to Palmetto Family Orthodontics to make sure that the facility is ready for worship at 10:30am. We will have those same members remain downstairs to greet and speak with any first-time visitors that may show up that morning. And my wife will navigate a Sunday morning with our son all on her own. All so that I am able to say yes to the worship service at the Cascades.
We did talk about this as a core group a year ago when we took on this responsibility each month. And we felt strongly that the Lord was leading us to do this. But I would be misguided if I didn’t see all of the ramifications of taking on one additional ministry as part of our church’s witness to the 29607 community. Every yes comes with a list of no’s.
This is where our seventh core value comes from. Simply put, we understand that we have a limited capacity as a brand new church plant. We would love to have a fully functioning nursery, a passionate youth ministry, multiple small groups, and a basketball team. And I believe that in the not-so-distant future all of those things will be a part of our church plant. But for now, we have to be very thoughtful about where we put our energy. We cannot say yes to something if the no’s behind that yes cause us to drop a more important ball.
It is usually on this core value that I speak about the type of church plant we are. Traditionally, there are two categories of church plants: daughter church or parachute drop. A daughter church plant is one that is sent with “no assembly required.” It doesn’t mean there aren’t still struggles, but it does mean that a group has one or more of the following already taken care of: (a) financial sustainability, (b) large core group of committed members, and/or (c) leaders. A daughter church plant is a great way to go, and one of its benefits is having a much larger capacity. Thus, there are more “things” that this type of church plant can do.
We, however, are a parachute drop church plant. The image here is one of a church planter “dropped” out of an airplane and beginning the work from scratch. There is no long-term financial commitment brought into the work. There isn’t anyone else who is committed to come along for the ride. And there aren’t any official leaders to lean on as we grow. It truly is building something from the ground up.
Both of these models present challenges that the other doesn’t have. And both of these models have advantages that the other doesn’t have. One of the challenges for a parachute drop church plant like ours is that our capacity is greatly limited for a season. But the blessing there is that we get to develop thoughtfully where we want to spend our efforts. And we always have to ask ourselves, “What are the no’s behind this yes?”
Much more could be said about how this looks in our church plant right now, but those are conversations for our Inquirer’s Class. I simply want to conclude with the foundation for this core value – the Triune God.
It is the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – who truly has an infinite capacity. An infinite capacity for love. An infinite capacity for holiness. An infinite capacity for wisdom and might and strength. And yet, even the Triune God has no’s for every yes.
When the Triune God says “Yes, I will forgive your sins,” He is also saying, “No, I will not ever remember them again.”
When the Father says, “Yes, I accept you in Christ as my son or daughter,” He is also saying, “No, you cannot ever be taken from my hand."
When the Son says, “Yes, it is finished,” He is also saying, “No, there is nothing separating you anymore from the love of God.”
And when the Spirit says, “Yes, I will make my dwelling within you,” He is also saying, “No, you cannot ever be lost.”
So every no comes with a yes, and every yes comes with a no. Our calling as a church plant is to simply be thoughtful in that as we aim to follow the Triune God as He continues to lead us!
“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” – 2 Corinthians 1:20