|The conversations lately on the listserve had suggested this leadership tip. One of the things that has been helpful to me in my journey is to refocus now and then. Here’s what I mean by that. It is easy over a period of time to buy into ideas and beliefs that really are more the product of culture than call or Scripture. For instance it is one thing to be in bed with culture when it comes to style; it is another matter to cozy up to culture when it comes to one’s belief system. When it comes to style, we need to be “of” the culture. When it comes to belief we need to be “above” or “against” the culture.
Now, this becomes very dicey when you realize that Christendom has been one long big culture in which most of the denominations alive today were birthed. And by being birthed during Christendom, you can bet that much of what denominations teach is tainted by Christendom.
So, by refocus, I mean retesting beliefs, not based on what our denominations say (if we are a part of one) but what the first two centuries of Christianity taught. Do I believe this because of my relationship to Christ and what the Scriptures teach me or because this is what my tradition tells me to believe. If you haven’t tried refocusing, then you don’t know the difference, yet. I have to confess, every time I refocus (I’ve done that about a half dozen times in my life, usually when things weren’t working well), I have to adjust something I have thought to be important. Its not that I have to redo totally my belief system, but it does mean that I have to make major adjustments at time.
For instance, my understanding of Call and ordination changed drastically when I took some time away to refocus and no one ever heard of laity until the third century. Before, then there wasn’t such an animal. But my denomination actually separated laity and clergy during our annual meeting for some of the more “important matters.” Foolish, no dangerous religious snobbery of the worst kind. My tribe needs to refocus. So, I had to adjust and that caused me to begin to refocus on equipping laity for the work of ministry.
I have had the same conversion, if you will, when it comes to small groups. I now believe that the primary essence of the church is where two or three Christians are gathered. Small groups are more important than the big celebration on Sunday. But you would never know that from Christendom. Wesley refocused the vision, but it was soon lost. Luther tried to refocus on the Priesthood of the believer, but was so fixated on the Call of the Ordained that it had no chance of catching on.
Now, I wonder what it is in all of the ritual and stuff conversation that raises a concern in your life that maybe you need to refocus? What baggage has Christendom placed on you that you need to unpack and see what for it really is – dribble, if there is any?
Refocusing has a cleansing effect to it. Try it; you might like it.