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Transformation is a Germ

My son has "school friends" he prays for every night before bed. His school friends have provided this 2 1/2 year old with some interesting life lessons along the way. He's learned that not everyone is nice all of the time (and that he's not nice all of the time either). He's had to learn how to share and play with other kids. Another consequence of his close proximity to his toddler friends has been a more frequent interaction with germs.

Transformation is contagious. Transformation is caught person to person and not organization to person. I can't tell you how many people inside the church in our recent past have been consumed with the organizational aspects of the church. Some church members seem to be fixated on the concept that the germ is passed from the organization. Some believe the church is like a toy factory in China. The problem is you don't mass produce Christians. You can get mass alter calls but life transformation happens person-to-person. If mass appeal was good by itself, Paul's letters wouldn't have been needed.

No, Christianity is about personal transformation and transformation is like a germ. One person has been transformed and that person invests into the life of another. Does the hub of the church have a role on the weekend? Absolutely. But the secret is not about a mass production on the weekend. In these great churches that have large numbers on the weekend, their secret is that THEY KNOW TRANSFORMATION IS CONTAGIOUS. Behind the most well produced churches in America are armies of small groups, volunteer opportunities, service teams and the like. Each of these churches have pockets of people who invest their lives into the lives of others.

Lets get to the point. Those teams that produce the sets on the stage of (insert megachurch here) are friends who - while discussing wiring or lighting - are forming relationships that last a lifetime. They go to lunch together, they watch one another's children and they go to baseball games together. Larger churches aren't large just because they produce the best show... they are who they are because they know the secret of spreading the germ of transformation.

Enamoured by the large church, we go to their conference.
Pastors have a tendency to walk into big buildings and say "Wow, look at the equipment. Who designed their building? How much did this cost?" But the secret is out in the halls. In the halls of nearly every church conference you will find volunteers who are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the people who've shown them the transformed life. Chances are pretty good that the guy who shook your hand at the door and the guy who showed you to your seat are the same guys who last weekend painted a house for Habitat for Humanity together. In a few weeks those same guys will probably watch the Super Bowl together. While the Sunday morning service is an aspect of their lives, Jesus is at the center of their relationship. Chances are good that they've learned that transformation is a germ to be spread. At the Habitat project or at the Superbowl party is a third guy that these two are investing in.

So while yes we should aim to provide the best of anything we put forward, we must NOT forget that the entire point of those things is to spread transformation AND transformation doesn't come from the organization. Churches aren't factories that pump out Christians.... they are the environments where transformation is spread from person to person.

A sterile environment may be good for the hospital but if our churches aren't growing, chances are we've killed the wrong germs.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, January 21, 2008


At 11:38 AM, Blogger Happy Mommy said...

My husband helped park cars sunday at church with the same guys who are helping a family to rebuild their home after a tragedy and we will be hosting a Super Bowl party with these same guys and their families.
We like the germs our church is spreading! We love these small groups that we are growing with and spending life with.
We love the way you think, you vision for church is right on and should be nothing less!

Happy Mommy


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