Today’s church trends have made an influential movement in the contemporary church by in large. However, there are other trends that may be categorized as growing epidemics, and may serve to have severe setbacks to the contemporary church if not properly and effectively executed. Colossians 3:1-4 states, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

            This verse brings clarity to the worshiper, and by worshiper I mean true believer or Christian. “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” gives a clarion call to all worshipers...look to God for fresh revelation, creative ideas for the church, and clear modifications and accommodations. So what point am I trying to make? It’s simple, don’t copy and paste your worship services or gatherings.

            Copy and pasting is fun and simple, by shortcut creativity standards, by most churches both contemporary and traditional. The problem and/or epidemic that lies ahead of that creative process is this: if we as a church fail to hear from God for our revelation and creativity and rely solely upon the revelation that is out there, other church’s ideas, then we run the risk of copy and pasting our church services/gatherings into a pre-made package that may not even be close to what the original church vision is.

            The effective way to utilize resources it to fit them into the vision, mission, and core values of your current church. Instead of doing church like “such-and-such church” and “so-and-so ministry” why not do church like GOD desires for it to be done. Just because a church trend is the latest thing in the contemporary service, does not mean that it will fit into your church nor does it need to fit. You should utilize church trends as inspiration for creative ideas, but never as a substitute for lackadaisical thinking and action due to poor creative leadership.

            God has given the gifts to your church for a reason, so utilize them where they fit, and if you don’t know who they are or where they fit, then get to know your church members. You may be surprised at what you’ll find if you’ll search out who God has already provided for your ministry. I once attended a conference where a particular speaker had passed out documentation for each attendee to following along with during the session, but he mentioned something while the documents were being distributed. He said, “Feel free to edit and modify these documents according to your church.” I appreciated that, because it showed me that the speaker understood that as a church we are ONE body but MANY parts. When you look at it from that perspective, it makes perfect sense why copy and pasting churches should not exist, but rather be who God has called you to be and fulfill that calling to the fullest. Occupy the region where you are for Kingdom purposes, not for popularity or recognition. Be the change that God wants you to be. Be the Church God wants you to be. 



Embrace the Process

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2-3 (NKJV)

Ministry, like many professions and labor, has its moments of glory as well as those that are less to be desired. The passage above reminds us to “count it all joy” in the midst of trials and tribulations. Two questions, “Where is your faith?” and “Where is your focus?” Often times our faith may be “in” God, however our focus may be in the opposite direction (in the trial). There are two things we need to consider as we move through the processes of ministry and life…faith and focus. Your faith may give you access to meet with God, but the focus of your faith captures the heart of God.

Process is in everyone that is growing or progressing in one way or another. Your destiny requires you to go through the process, because process is the potential agent of growth. Whether that growth is spiritual, educational, social, mental, or physical, it is of great necessity in order for you to be a better you. Growth is always a process, and it rarely happens overnight. One does not gain muscle through a one-time 30-minute workout for an entire year, and all of sudden they have muscular strength. Rather, the person must be consistent and persistent in what goals they may desire to accomplish. The same goes for the believer, as our lives are in constant process of change. It is important that the process is embraced, for it through the process that one is made stronger and wiser.

When we embrace the process of the spiritual things of our life, we understand that it is a purging or cleansing within us. God always has a purpose for the process. In fact, the purposes are beyond you. The purposes are so that God may be completely glorified through your life, and yes that includes Him being glorified through your trials. When you learn to embrace the fact that God is walking you through the process, then you are learning to focus your faith on what’s important…God and His will.

We do not walk alone in ministry or life. We walk with a God who is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. When you view the process from that perspective, then you can count any process in life “all joy.” Your source is God; His word is your compass; Your prayer life is your life-line; and salvation should be a reminder of your faith. So focus your eyes on the Maker and Creator of all things good. The process you embrace today, will be the workings of a better you tomorrow.

- Tad Ruiz