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Don’t be Different for Different’s Sake

August 20, 2012

The Conventional Practice of church planters is to do it like it’s never been done before.  We see this in our names, our strategy, even how we offend people. Sometimes this is good.

But sometimes this is a problem.

Have you ever heard of the Me Monster?  Comedian Brian Regan talks about the Me Monster, how if you’re at a dinner party there’s always someone ready to story-top you.  Regan says he made the mistake once of mentioning he got 2 wisdom teeth taken out.  But as soon as he finished someone interrupted, “That ain’t nuthin!”  and he proceeded to tell about how he had 4 wisdom teeth taken out, and they were impacted, and the roots were like trees, wrapped around their jawbone.  Regan recommends, “Never tell a 2-wisdom teeth tale.”  Then he adds, “That’s why I’d like to be one of the 11 men who have walked on the moon.  Because you can just sit back and let all the Me Monsters tell their stories about how great they are…and you just casually add between bites, “yeah, well….I walked on the moon.”  Boom!  Ain’t nobody gonna top that one!

As church planters we must beware of the Me Monster, of wanting to make a name for ourselves because we know how to do it like it’s never been done before.

Have you ever heard someone give an awkward testimony?  I don’t mean awkward because they’re not good at sharing in public; I’m referring to the person who is telling about how they came to Christ, but as they go into detail about the sin Christ saved them from, you’re not sure if they are really repentant, because it sounds like they would love to go back to that sin at a moment’s notice?   With testimonies, there is a fine line between being proud of your sin and being proud of the one who saved you from sin.

Similarly, in church planting there is a fine line between being different to reach new people with the Gospel, and being different for deferent’s sake. See, a lot of church planters saw a church that was ineffective because it used the deadly phrase, “We’ve never done it that way before.” That phrase is uttered by churches on a hamster-wheel-death-march to obscurity and irrelevance.  So the church planter’s temptation is to do the opposite: to say, “We’ve never done it that way before…so we must do it that way!”

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