Black Holes and Bright Lights

Black holes of church ministry: criticism, relational tension, mistakes, the ongoing pressure of limited or depleting resources, the grind of “3 steps forward, 2 steps back” and sometimes even 2 forward 5 back, the uninvolved critic who is technically correct.  The person who makes it unnecessarily personal.  The list goes on and on.  Its all a black hole.

The Bright lights: Everyday people discovering God@work in their life, the person who says, “I feel welcome in this church,” a hard working team of staff and volunteers.  God showing up in surprising ways.  (Does He ever show up in predictable ways?  I think not.)  The light going on for an unbeliever, or a dormant long term church person.  Watching an everyday person flourish and shine in leadership, seeing unexpected people pastoring everyday people, feeling the church wide excitement of celebration when someone is baptized, getting calls and emails from people saying, “Whatever you need, I’m in.”  Getting an unexpected check in the offering.  The privilege of serve God in this way.  Being saved from my sins and my self absorbed ways.  Breathing air, having the mental capacity to get out of bed.   Taking a shower and eating as much as I want which is more than I can say for the majority of this world.  These and many more are the bright lights.

The MHP must have the discipline to notice the bright lights and not get sucked into the black hole, who’s gravitational force is strong and ever present.  Its not about ignoring real and debilitating problems, its about noticing the wonder of God@work in our church.

Surely the beginning of this noticing starts with the MHP noticing the wonder of God@work in our own lives.

Black holes have sucked us in and will surely do so again.  Their pull is strong and unrelenting, but our role as leader is to keep people noticing and celebrating the bright lights. Then, inviting us all to worship of the Light Bearer in wonder and abandonment.

Matt. 4:16   the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

My prayer for you today:  That you’ll notice the bright lights and give thanks to the Creator of Light.

4 Replies to “Black Holes and Bright Lights”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. We have had a few leaders over the years who have worked to cultivate a culture of noticing what you call the bright lights and we tried to establish it as a basic practice of Life Groups, with a little success. Here’s what trips me up – I would love to cultivate that culture be telling the stories, and I do among staff to some extent, but most of the stories are not mine to tell. Perhaps I should start making a practice of asking for permission to retell the stories I hear of God’s presence and work in people’s lives?


  2. Hi Scott,

    sorry I’m so slow to respond. I was getting self conscious that my comment replies were all showing up on the side of my blog (like I’m some kind of egomaniac who responds to his own posts!) so I deleted that feature and now feel free to……respond to my own post.

    Yeah, sharing wins and stories is definitely a fine line, but we’ve found great success in it – we do ask permission, but we’ve also found that if we build a celebration culture (Look at how God is using Joe!) we find that Joe and Joe’s friends all really love it and “everyday Joes” get the idea that God can use them too.


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