This post is part of an ongoing blog series on Pomomusings entitled “(Re)Imagining Christianity.” To read about the series, as well as get a full schedule of participants, click here.
What is one belief, practice or element of Christianity that must die so that Christianity can move forward and truly impact the world in the next 100 years?
I have been performing in one sense or another since I was six years old. Whether it was acting professionally as a child, or learning the music business during my college days in Los Angeles, or spending my 20s as a worship leader, my life experience taught me that if I can perform artistically at a high level, I can succeed.
As a result, I’ve unconsciously centered my relationship with God and my community on a determined performance mentality.
But I don’t think I’m alone when admit my greatest fears:
- If I can’t perform, where do I find my value?
- If I can’t perform, how do I know that I’m necessary or doing the right thing or honoring God?
- If I can’t perform, will anyone in my church community still care about me?
Within the Church, this emphasis on performance is widespread. Rachel Held Evans created a buzz around Facebook and Twitter with her post that lamented the performed “coolness” of the American church. We constantly tell church goers to attend this small group or that ministry, read this book or go to that conference, practice this discipline or serve there. We give them a big performance every weekend through our light shows and our rock bands and our dynamic teachings. And none of these facets of church life are bad in themselves; they’re wonderful if executed for the right reasons and led by the Holy Spirit.
But for a broken 28 year old worship leader like me who often finds his self-worth in his ability to perform, this laundry list of possible Christian achievements and these large Christian venues only feed my misunderstanding that my value is found in what I can produce or achieve.
When Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” I wonder if He was, in part, speaking to performance-addicted people like me.
I wonder if He was simply saying, “I know you think you need to perform to find love and acceptance and value, but really, I love you and accept you and ascribe value to you in your weariness and in your brokenness.”
Maybe He was saying to us that His grace and His blessing and His friendship is freely given, not dished out based on the facades of our constant role playing.
And maybe we would be better off if we, the Church, stopped trying to perform our way through this life.
Kevin Carey: Kevin is the Student Ministries Worship Leader @cornerstoneweb in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also a composer and film orchestrator on the side. You can find more of his work at www.kevingeorgecarey.com, as well as follow him @kcougs or at facebook.com/kevingeorgecarey.