As a high school student I remember going to pep rallies before the big game on Fridays. We would sit in the gym according to our classes, with freshmen in one section, sophomores in another, juniors in their place and seniors usually in the best section of the gym. The cheerleaders would lead us in various cheers and then the classes would seek to outdo one another in displaying our enthusiasm for the team.
One of the cheers we often chanted went something like “We got the spirit, yes, we do; we got the spirit, how about you?” This would be chanted by one class, and another class would have to respond. Whoever shouted the loudest was considered to have the most school spirit, and therefore won the pep rally.
As an adult looking back on those pep rallies, it occurs to me that we were all cheering for the same team. We were all there to show our support for the team and encourage them to play hard and bring home the trophy. It really did not matter which class was the loudest. But back then it sure seemed important to win the pep banner and show the most school spirit.
I think this “we got the spirit, how about you” attitude sometimes creeps into the church. Some churches follow a more traditional path in worship. Other churches follow a more innovative path. Still others seek to combine elements of both traditional and innovative worship. Like high school students, we tend to hang out with people in our own group and we tend to think our group has a lock on how the Spirit wants us to cheer on the saints in worship. At times it seems that we are acting more like high school students at a pep rally instead of mature leaders in the church of Jesus Christ.
Traditional pastors may think that innovative pastors have watered down the Bible and abandoned biblical principles. Innovative pastors sometimes feel traditional pastors have quenched the Spirit and are riding a dead horse into the ground. Often pastors are caught somewhere in the middle and afraid to share their ideas about these matters with anyone because they are not sure how those ideas will be received. Such pastors tend to drift back and forth between one group or another never really fitting in completely.
Perhaps we should stop acting like self-centered teens trying to prove we have the most spirit and instead focus on serving the Lord in the way that He leads us to. While some traditional pastors may have indeed quenched the Spirit, there are others who are deeply in love with Jesus and serve Him with passion, but through traditional ways. Likewise, some innovative pastors have taken far too many liberties with the Bible in their efforts to be contextual. But many others have searched the scriptures and many things they are doing are often ancient practices of the church re-packaged for a more modern audience. Since we are all on the same team, we should rejoice when someone discovers a way to engage a group of people and lead them in genuine worship, even if it looks different than how we lead our own group.
It takes all types of churches to reach the many different types of people in our society. Together, as a team, we can join God in His work and reach all those whom He is calling to Himself.
Lord, help all Bible believing Christians find unity in our mutual faith together instead of being in competition with one another. Amen.
This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link: