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New Ways


Back in the day, when mullets were still in fashion a fellow West Virginian Michael W. Smith wrote a song.  It’s a great song that my congregation still uses to set the stage for Private Confession during our Christ Renews His Parish weekends.  The song is entitled Secret Ambition – and it’s a great song about Jesus, His teaching, His secret ambition.  The first verse was always a powerful motivator for me.

Young man up on the hillside
Teaching new ways
Each word winning them over
Each heart a kindled flame
Old men watch from the outside
Guarding their prey
Threatened by the voice of the paragon
Leading their lambs away
Leading them far away

As a young buck pastor, this song permeated my reason for being.  I looked at the older pastors around me and shook my head.  They didn’t get it, the world had change, it wasn’t the 60’s anymore and they had lost the way.  Today, I find myself 20 years into ordained ministry and fearing that I’m one of the old men watching from the outside threatened by the voice of the new way.

From the outside SPLC is doing well. Attendance is healthy, giving is good, the community is strong – but I find myself asking, “Are lives being touched with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”  My mentor and a person I consider a friend, The Rev. Dr. David Lose has a blog you can find here in which he does amazing stuff.  When I grow up I want to preach as well as David.

On his blog last week he had a video you can see from the Episcopal Church in which a rector discusses new ways because the old ways aren’t working in her parish.  As I said from the outside my parish looks like it’s working – we are becoming a center of community activity, the all important bottom lines are healthy, there is laughter and much joy – but… but… this Good News and are we effectively proclaiming it to those who need to hear it, to experience it, to live it.  I have to ponder considering yesterdays Gospel, am I looking at things through Godly lenses or human ones.

For centuries the Church has proclaimed the Gospel through changing times – how do we change with today’s times while still faithfully walking on The Way.  Today I find myself asking difficult questions with no easy answers inside of me.  I wonder if I have become one who is simply guarding my prey.



One Comment leave one →
  1. 6March2012 09:51

    That is a great video and well worth watching. Thanks for sharing. There has certainly been a shift from “learn then experience” to “experience then learn” mentality in our world. I think it is faithful–Jesus sent the 70 before they had all the knowledge. I certainly am far from having it all figured out. I love that our current society isn’t satisfied with sitting and talking about faith–they want to live it and make a difference in this world for Jesus.


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