At the end of Psalm 139 David prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” It’s a good thing to ask the Lord to shine His searchlight of love and holiness into our hearts to root out the junk that messes with us. It’s also a good thing to do this on our own, for us to look at ourselves to see how we are doing. Taking this a few leaps further, I think it’s a good thing for an organization to do as well. An organization like a church, even an organization the size of Calvary Chapel. Have you done this lately? I seem to do this 24/7. Has your church done this lately? Seeing as I’m stepping into an established church it seems a good time to do so. And if I’m picking up on the vibe, I think CC is beginning to do the same. What will they find?
I’ve travelled to 31 states and 3 foreign countries. To some that sounds like a lot. To others, no biggie. I’ve always tried to visit CC’s when I travel just to see what other parts of the movement are doing. One thing I have learned is that you can’t lump the entire CC movement into one box. Some are charismatically loose, some are tight. Some are legalistic, some let things slide. There is, however, one thing that many seem to share. I call it Calvary Complacency.
The primary, defining characteristic of CC is teaching the word, the whole word, and nothing but the word. If you teaching it they will come. “Simply teaching the word of God simply.” That’s the model laid out for us in scripture and that’s part of the model that CC espouses. But what does it mean the teach the word? Is that all it takes, just teaching?
Calvary Complacency is the idea that if I as a pastor just teach the Bible, that people will grow, the church will grow, and everything will be great. As I look at the word and as I examine my own ministry and that of others, that’s just not the case. “Are you saying that we shouldn’t teach the word?” Not at all. I’m saying that the word needs to be the strong, sturdy, unshakable, unmovable foundation that everything else is built upon. This leads to a brief discussion on what it means to teach the word. Disclaimer: I in no way claim to be some great, inspirational, eloquent, teaching machine. I’m still working on it as I hope every pastor is. I also understand that there is a spectrum between preaching and teaching. Preaching tends to be more inspirational and teaching tents to be more educational. Guys like Greg Laurie and Bob Coy are great preachers. Guys like Chuck Missler are great teachers. What they all do in common is they take what the word says, let it speak to them, then turn around and teach it from their own God given personality, strengths, and perspectives. Expository teaching.
Usually, those who are victims of Calvary Complacency have never learned or drifted away from this kind of teaching. I’ve been there so I’m speaking from experience. It seems that the study is a kind of Bible story time or its a classroom where the teacher is just repeating facts. And because the pastor thinks he is teaching the word he just expects growth to happen. While no growth is happening he gets frustrated but doesn’t know why. What’s missing? The rest of the story. Getting the word into the pastor’s heart and then teaching that to the flock. It isn’t enough to teach from the word. It isn’t even enough to teach the word. It has to be taught from the heart, not the head.
This is part one in a series. I’m not sure how long the series will be but it has to start somewhere, right? Calvary Complacency exists. Are you a victim of it as a pastor or a CC member? I’m exploring this in my own heart and hope to root it out with that Holy Spirit spotlight over the next weeks, months, years, as long as I’m here it seems.