I have always had an admiration for classic cars and trucks. The time someone spends to restore the old is a priceless and often a long journey. But when the end comes that work and the beauty that shines from the time invested are breathtaking. It is a marvelous thing, and that is why I love to go to car shows. I get to see an era, and an era restored to its original condition and it’s original potential.
New cars though have luxury and they have modern technology that is appealing too. But as time changes the new does not hold what the old does. The history that these classic vehicles contain and the emotional effect they play surpasses what these new vehicles offer. The two are different ends of the spectrum I know, but all serve a similar purpose, simply stated: transportation.
A while back I had two paths that I could have chosen. One that was much like the new car, with new technology, new gadgets, and low miles. And the other like the classic car, with no technology, no gadgetry, lots of miles, and without the restoration. The new car was so appealing that everything in me wanted to choose it. It’s ability to move without needing repairs was so alluring, but though I was not sure of my decision at the time I chose the classic.
The two paths that were ahead of me during this time simply were two churches. One that was new, had all the new gadgets of methodology, all the new Christians or at least the younger postmodern ones, and simply fit everything I wanted to see in a church and still do for that matter. And the other church , well old, rusty, and for a good many there, stuck in modernity. Not an easy path to choose. But as I have stated above once those in the church, like a classic car, are restored and renewed, they will have a priceless value to them.
Sure new churches that are following new paradigms are easier, but like a new car; constantly depreciating. And as for the old, they already depreciated, but the process to restore the value is difficult and time consuming. Fairly often Christians say that Jesus came for the sick and not the healthy, and typically, as I believe was Jesus’ point, this refers to people outside of church family/Israel. However, I think that as you reflect upon Jesus’ ministry and the disciples he called, I feel that he chose classics too. These guys he chose were Israelites or church people of sorts, some more on the outskirts of this family like Matthew, but all part of Israel. They were not the best, they did not already get it, and the paradigm that they understood needed deconstructing. Nevertheless he chose them to follow him. And the journey though long and frustrating, eventually restored these disciples, and their value became priceless, much like a restored classic.
All this to say, don’t give up on the church or your current setting. The people there can be brought back into God’s plan and where his spirit is leading in our day of age. The battle and the restoration process is difficult, but the end once again is priceless.
( Please do not take this as a bash against new church plants or missional communities or what have you-I just believe that God still has a plan for those in his churches all over America that are still stuck in old paradigms and we should not abandon them, knowing it is easier to work with the new).