Cirque du Soleil is constantly refining and reinventing themselves. They have turned, and are turning, their performance into an incredible art. They kick the tires on the car, they take apart the engine, they find what doesn't work and put it back together over and over again.
We need to adopt some of that for us as believers and for us as a church.
It can never be good enough. There is always room for improvement. There is always something that could have been done better. I think that if we assume at any point that our church, our ministries, our faith, our outreach has reached a "perfect" state; we need to be taken aside and beat with a stick.
If we're so full of our own kool-aid that we can't see the problems (and believe me, there will always be problems) we need to get out of the way so someone who CAN see can help fix it.
Now, this doesn't mean that we have to be cynical jerks about everything. But we do have to be internally critical of ourselves and of the church. Because people outside will be. And what good is it if we pretend everything is perfect when it isn't?
Refining is the act of removing impurities. It's the process of bringing something into a finer and purer state. The imagery of God as a refiner of his people happens many times in scriptures. He will refine them like silver and gold (Zec 13, Mal 3, probably other places I'm too lazy to look up).
Refining can be painful.
Nobody wants to tear apart our own programs, because we've invested so much in them. When you create something like a ministry, an event, a program, you get an attachment to it. Too often we can derive a sense of self-worth because of what we've created. But our self worth can't come from what we do, it needs to come from God and who he says we are.
And so we don't want to examine what could be wrong with it...because we don't want to face up that maybe we didn't do it perfectly. But we're never going to do it perfectly. We just need to constantly try to do it better. We need to always be breaking it down, finding the holes, patching them up and trying once more. And then doing it all again. Even if our program/ministry is very "successful."
What would it look like if God didn't care about refining us? If he thought that "Oh, they're good enough, at least they're not as bad as 'X'?"
Would he have sent Jesus?
Would he have later sent the Holy Spirit?
Would he be working in our lives constantly to further change our hearts and minds to be more like his?
Or would he just leave well enough alone, and not want to take us apart because he didn't want to face the truth of the matter...
If he thinks that refining his people to a closer state of perfection is a worthwhile endeavor, I think we should take a similar stance. We can't do it with people, only God can...because he created us. But we can do it with the things that we create; our ministries, programs and events.
What do you think about this?