There was a popular series a few years ago for church leaders called, “Sticky Teams,” “Sticky Church,” you get the idea. I actually liked most of what was shared, after all we do want people to “stick” when they come to our churches. However, at times much of what we in church.inc., swallow for the “gospel” of church growth just doesn’t quite line up with what Jesus said.
I want my church, and yours to grow, be a powerhouse for redemption and hope in our communities. I want all of us to be healthy, happy, and hopeful that our local church will be a place where lives are changed, where people begin to follow Jesus with passion and finish their race as in love with God as the day they took their first step. And there is no end to the “professionals” that will tell you exactly how to do that.
One of the things we are told we must do is clean up the mess. I have to be honest…I hate mess. I like a clean building, clean classrooms, clean restrooms, clear & simple instructions, and a neat service with everything in place. I do not mind interruptions as long as they are meaningful, intentional, inspirational and …clean. I like things clean. But people are rarely clean…enough for some among us.
In Proverbs 14:4 we read, “Where there is no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.” In other words, where you have a bunch of restless animals gathered into one location, if there is any strength in them at all, you will have a room full of crap. That’s right. No crap, no oxen. It comes with the territory.
Since I like smooth clean stalls, this verse is not my favorite. Much like Martin Luther wanted to excise the book of James from the scripture, I would like to delete this one. However, I didn’t have the last word.
Yes, we want people to “stick” with us. We want a sticky church. If your stall is empty, you’ll have a clean stable. Just beautiful. Something to show off. But if you want some raw material to work with, you won’t get that without the stink. And after all, that stink does stick. If there’s enough manure shoveled into the right places, that stink can become the key to an “abundant harvest” That smell? It’s the fragrance of heaven, the kingdom of God (Matt. 22:9-10). Don’t fear the funk, go get you a stinky church!