My childhood home was located next door to a small strip mall consisting of a radio and television shop, various business offices and a pharmacy at the far end of the mall. The view from my upstairs bedroom window was the roofline of those small shops and stores.
My parents were awakened one night by the pharmacy burglar alarm. After contacting the police, my dad also woke me up to let me know what was occurring. We watched in the darkness of my bedroom as a thief attempted to access the pharmacy through its roof with a pickaxe.
When the police arrived the burglar tried to elude them by running across the rooftops toward our house. It was obvious that he intended to jump between the stores and our home to escape capture. My always-prepared dad temporarily blinded the intruder by pointing the beam of a huge flashlight in his eyes the moment he jumped.
From the street it appeared that our house and the strip mall were only one-story structures. Because of the slope of the side yard, however, where the thief intended to jump was actually three-stories high. The hapless criminal landed in a heap on our metal garbage cans and was easily apprehended and arrested. He jumped blindly before considering all of the circumstances or potential consequences.
If your post-worship-conference-pattern is to imitate and implement everything you see without considering how or if it might fit in the culture or context of your own congregation…stop attending worship conferences. If your congregants dread your return from the conference since this pattern occurs after every event…stop attending worship conferences. And if you are disappointed in and critical of your people when they can’t imitate what you observed and experienced…stop attending worship conferences.
If, however, you can attend worship conferences and filter the valuable insights through the worship language of your uniquely positioned and distinctly designed congregation, then by all means attend as many of those conferences as your budget and calendar will allow.
- Listen and observe while giving consideration to where and whom God has called you to serve, not where or whom you wish He had called you to serve.
- Determine if what you observe out there complements the gifts of those you already have in here.
- If imitation is the highest form of flattery, ask yourself whom it is you are trying to flatter.
- Attend conference sessions based on how you might improve the worship language of your congregation, not based on how you might appear to your friends.
- Consider that future ministry success may reside primarily in the revitalization of your attitude as the leader.
- Take into consideration the past and present circumstances that frame your existing worship language.
- Determine if it is possible that the only new necessary is for your group to do what they are already doing…better.
- Don’t tune out the learning that is also available in the conversations during breaks and meals.
- Remember the old idiom look before you leap before blindly implementing what you observe and learn.