We sometimes crave innovation. And it does seem these days there is always more to do. Hardly a day passes when some blog, article, book, podcast or what have you insists that there is some gap in your church that must be filled. How else will your people have whatever need met if you don’t run what they are suggesting or find the time to start something new or whatever.
This isn’t always a pressure from outside either. Sometimes it comes from within. Our people want to know why there isn’t more of this or that. Other people want to know why a totally different thing isn’t happening as much as they would like. Very often these things are on top of what is already going on. But what is going on already seems a bit old hat. It’s just not exciting anymore.
I fear we sometimes overlook the routine. But it is amazing how quickly we insist that the church must be doing one thing or another, that the Bible doesn’t demand, and overlook the routine apparently ordinary things that it does demand. Would it be nice if there was more specific teaching for a particular group of people in the church? Maybe. Yes. But let’s not overlook the fact that there is already weekly teaching on a Sunday for everyone in the church. Much as it might be nice to have special interest groups, Jesus doesn’t insist on them and there is something available that he has told us we ought to do together, weekly, that anyone can tap into.
The same goes for anything your church does. It’s very easy to look over our shoulder at what others are doing and think, we should be doing more of that. Maybe it would be good – these things often are good – but it doesn’t mean we have the capacity or ability to do everything everyone else might be doing. More to the point, if they’re not things Jesus says we ought to be doing, nice or helpful as they may be, it isn’t something required of us.
I sometimes wonder if we just get bored too easily. We refuse to acknowledge the good that the meat and potatoes of weekly sermons does us, we don’t acknowledge the good regularly singing some of the same songs each week does us, because we like innovation. We like things to be different. We think routine is pedestrian. What we want is something different, a bit more exciting, with a bit more pizazz.
If you have the capacity to be doing much more, that is wonderful. If your church is able to do even more teaching, if your people are hungry for even more opportunities to pray together, if you have scope to do even more evangelistic things, that’s great. If people are seeking such things, let them get on and do it. There is nothing wrong with any of this. But we have to be careful that we don’t expect everyone to do what we have capacity to do when Jesus doesn’t demand it nor that we allow what appears like godly desire to do more to become a cover for boredom at the things the Lord does actually ask us to do.
The routine should not be overlooked. Regularly meeting with God’s people, taking communion, hearing from the Word are all designed for our good. That’s not to say it is wrong to ever hope to do more besides. It is only to say, let us not take for granted what the Lord has commanded for our good in favour of seeking what he has never insisted we must do, helpful and good as they may be.