Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Cutting Edge

I knew something was up when Tim Lim looked at me just before the last song... so yeah... and I have to give Ivan a tight slap when I meet him for boosting up my volume...

But jokes aside, I think I would need to re-explain myself about the cutting edge thingy that I said when Pastor put me on the spot without warning. Somehow, I did figure that he would do a stunt like that, and I did prepare a little bit. But that was all I really had in my mind. Do no lose your cutting edge... ever...

We are a church that is built by using cutting edge technology and also philosophy, and let's keep it that way. Everything we do in Faith Christian Centre is all about changing for the better. There's no such thing as a good model or system that we should follow all the days of our lives. There's only the 'relevant to now' system. We must at least be as fast growing, and fast moving as the society out there. Once we lose our cutting edge, we lose all relevance to the society.

I am saying such things because I've been away and back. I took a step out of the system and revisited it. It sometimes takes a move like that to see things clearly, however, in our Asian working culture, we do not always see that. We are either pushing towards a certain goal with our heads down, teeth and muscles grit together digging our feet into the issue, or we're leisurely strolling through whatever happens around us with our heads held high, thinking that we're good enough, we're the best, nothing can beat us... None of us actually stop from our norm and look at the issue straight in the eye. Albeit some of us do, and these are who we call 'the visionaries'.

It does take a visionary to foresee change, or to even plan for change. And unfortunately, not everyone has both these charateristics. Some only have vision, but no powere nor will to make things happen; these I shall label as 'critics' - N.A.T.O. (No Action, Talk Only). Some have the political power or will to move things, but have no vision; these are your typical 'politician', popular but good for nothing.

So yeah, I think I have just killed a few people with that paragraph up there, but my point must be made that it takes a visionary to get an organisation to move on the cutting edge. It's sharp, it's dangerous, it sometimes hurts, but that's the price everyone must pay to be at the cutting edge. Once you lose your cutting edge, you lose your relevance, remember?

And why do I say so? There are churches out there that I see who used to be on the cutting edge, but now no more. Change of leadership, complacency, lack of knowledge and burn-out are all the factors that come into play.

Let's be philosophical a bit here - say, 10 years ago, you stumbled upon a winning formula that worked miracles. The system brought countless people to church every week. The system hit all the right buttons of the society at that point in time. But because it did you wonders doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve a review every now-and-then. Simply because soiety changes. What used to be popular culture 10 years ago is now looked upon as 'old-school' or should I say 'old-skool'. And since we're talking about an organic society like a church, we are also talking about keeping up with the times. And this refusal to change according to the times in most churches have actually made them redundant today. That is also why certain churches stay the same yesterday, today and forever... well, not forever, cause by about 50-60 years from now, all of your current members will be dead, and if you do not reach out to the new generation, then you're toast.

But yes, in general, people of yesterday and the people of today think very differently. We are so different on so many aspects of our lives, for example the way we handle and value money, time, relationships, and honour is so radically different from those who were our age 5 years ago. The newest word on the street is that a generation gap happens every once in 3 years. You think PSP is so cool today? Well, 3 years from, now, your younger brother will think that you lived in a cave when you were his age.

So, yeah, if society is so forcefully advancing, to the point of relentlessness, then why is the church so proud of its traditions? I am not saying that traditions are bad here, but the unreviewed following of traditions will almost surely leads to religiousness, and religiousness is somehow the counter argument for spirituality.

The balance must be sought somehow. Certain traditions are good to be followed, in fact there are some timeless traditions like the holy communion that should be at all times held sacred and looked upon with reverence and fear. But stuff like how do you handle your youth ministry, how you handle the small groups in your church, how you make the Word of God relevant to the society of today is very important. You must live like the head, not the tail. You cannot be the head if you stop running in front of everyone else. For the split moment someone overtakes you, you are no longer the head. And the church must recognise this! We must never stop being at the cutting edge of society.

Yes, the current system may have served you well, miraculously and abundantly at times, but is it still the cutting edge thing of today? Only you can be the judge.


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