Many of our churches have a habit of investing too much in the next big growth-delivering, soul-saving, church-renewing spiritual product, often backed by a handbook and set of videos from some wealthy church somewhere a long way from where God has placed us.
This is all good, but in my experience doesn’t quite work as well as advertised on the tin. Most church-renewing spiritual products, it seems sometimes, haven’t met my church.
When Jesus first taught the Sermon on the Mount to his disciples, it must have been a shock. It’s still a shock today. What he majored on was not technique, was not slick and didn’t need a workbook.
Blessed are the poor in spirit … those who mourn … the meek …
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness … the merciful … the pure in heart … the peacemakers … the ridiculed (or persecuted). (Matthew 5:3-12)
Instead, these Beatitudes are all these things:
- grounded in a deep need of God
- long term
- affecting all of life
- undergirding and rising above any specific plans
- concerned with our hearts, not our skillset
- encompassing sadness and setback
- starting small
- costing nothing
- using the materials to hand, and
- successfully helping us and our works to be a sign, instrument, and foretaste of the total transformation of the world in Jesus.
A spiritual strategy, in other words, for the rest of us.