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Marching to the Wrong Drummers

I always tell my kids if you lay down, people will step over you. But if you keep scrambling, if you keep going, someone will always, always give you a hand. Always. But you gotta keep dancing, you gotta keep your feet moving. —Morgan Freeman

When I came to Dallas to pastor, I was a diligent marcher, and I was good at it. When we arrived, the church was already marching. You could call it a family-oriented march. The motto was, “This church is a safe place to raise your kids.” I started to lead us in a different march, the seeker-sensitive march. Our motto was, “This church is a safe place to hear a dangerous message.” Our mission through the ’90s was to help the lost, the letdown, and the “looking” find Jesus. We made the church very comfortable for them, and we grew exponentially… yet there was a feeling that we were “a mile wide and an inch deep” … and it was true.

So in the early 2000s, we started the disciple-making march. Our motto was, “Each one reach one and teach one.” We started asking the question, “What does a disciple look like?” We met for five years trying to figure out what discipleship was. We came up with all these linear processes and curriculums and models. We had some that were cool and some that failed miserably. We had the community model, the life-group model, and the Sunday school model. We even had model models—model, model, model, model, model. We had our programs intact but had forgotten the simplicity and purity of walking humbly with Jesus.

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:7-8 emphasis mine)

Looking back, in my mind’s eye I see a bunch of North Korean soldiers marching in lockstep, with their legs perfectly synchronized and all of them absolutely scared to death they’re going to mess up. We had created an army of marchers controlled by model programs… when all He was asking was for us to walk and dance with Him.

Oh Lord, there are more than enough models out there. Let’s just dance! Amen.

Step away from the rigidness of religion and dance instead—listen to Pete’s audio series Dance Lessons!
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