Opinion. Observation. Application.
Define the Experience!
October 31, 2014Posted by on
The cultural shift from generation to generation can be best seen in the Apostle Paul’s comments to the Greek culture of old: (Acts 17:27-28) “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in HIM we live, and move and have our being.” LIVE–MOVE–ARE: are the three different generations in any culture. In our modern culture it represents: The greatest generation–(present age 67 and above) who found their lives based in “PURPOSE” as in the accumulation of “stuff” and the providing of “stuff” for their loved ones. The baby boomer generation–(age 48 or so to 70 or so) who found their lives based in “IDENTITY” or their titles and accomplishments. (Just listen to baby boomers talk they quickly tell you either what their title is, the job they do/did, and their accomplishments). The millennial generation (official the under 35 crowd, but for purposes of what we are discussing, let’s say the under 45 or so) who found their lives based in “VALUE” or how they feel “valued” by others. The Apostle Paul addresses all the generations of the culture by saying: “You will never be completely fulfilled if you live your life for your “stuff” (the greatest generation), your “titles or accomplishments,” (the baby boomer generation), or how you are “valued” (the millennial generation). The only way to be fully fulfilled in life is by living your life for GOD! Hence, In HIM we live (value), move (find my stuff), and have my being (title and accomplishment). Further–THE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS TODAY IS SEEN IN THE “EXPERIENCE.” People enjoy the “EXPERIENCE” more than anything else. What was/is the experience like? The question people ask is: What did you think of…? How did you feel when…? Social media lights up with feelings of people’s experience. AND OH DO PEOPLE LOVE to tell of their experience! Those involved in ministry need to take a careful look on the experience your ministry provides people. The experience itself will determine whether or not people will come (or come back). People will bring other people if what they experience is positive enough to tell others about it. If your ministry isn’t experiencing growth it is because those who come feel obligated and will continue, but aren’t experiencing something that is positive enough to tell others about it with the excitement that is contagious. Can you create such a positive experience that people will bring other people? The answer is YES you can, but it will be only a temporary solution (creating a great experience), if the experience IS NOT centered in God. Ministry Leaders can run around analyzing and processing what people are experiencing when they come to my Church, and then create a better experience, but it is all man induced, man made, man created–unless–in fact–GOD ACTUALLY SHOWS UP! In the same way the Apostle Paul showed the Greeks that you can have a pile of “stuff”–and “titles and accomplishments”–and feel “valued”–BUT unless your life is God centered it is a never ending cycle of carnal effort. Plus: the actual effort in leading others in experiences has to actually start in WHAT AM I EXPERIENCING? People under your influence will never experience something you haven’t experienced first, and shared enough about it that they experience it as well. LEADERS NEED TO EXPERIENCE GOD! I have a Pastor friend who called this week with the news that his Church Work/Witness Team had a real experience with God during a two week trip. Upon their return the Team wanted to continue their spiritual experience so the Pastor created a time at 8 AM on Sunday Morning. He shared with me the time was used just to wait upon the Holy Spirit. He said the “experience has been/is spiritually impactful.” No program, no format, no liturgy–just waiting upon God. The only way to truly experience God is to wait upon HIM–not expect HIM to wait upon–or wait for us! A deeper experience with God in your ministry starts with a deeper experience with God in the Ministry Leader. So the great question is: How would you define your experience? Depending upon your answer, the solution to going deeper in an experience is to spend more time WAITING (on God).