Breakfast and Brides
I met a friend for breakfast this morning. This guy is an infertility specialist doctor. Years ago he was a funny little kid in the youth group I led. How cool is that? Having a 7 a.m. beach side breakfast with my friend was just the best.
We talked about our brides. He’s in a good marriage with a good family. So am I. We also talked about the Church. We both love the Bride of Christ. Maybe I didn’t totally screw up those youth group kids after all.
We both did some open, honest evaluation of our marriages and brides. Questions and accountability are good to keep things on track or tweaked as needed. How’s communication? What are the struggles? How are we taking care of our bride’s hearts? I still love my bride with great passion, so questions about how I’m doing as the groom are invaluable. My model of marriage I’ve adopted over the years can never overshadow my mission of marriage: to love Sherry unconditionally and to always present her as a beautiful bride without blemish.
In “Deep & Wide,” Andy Stanley asks some great questions attached to the Bride of Christ. Evaluating effectiveness with hard questions is a good thing for any bride. Stanley writes, “Asking the right questions (and asking them over and over) will ensure that the vision of your church remains paramount while your programming remains subservient.” I do love Andy’s non-rhyming church leadership poetry:
“Marry your mission. Date your model. Fall in love with your vision. Stay mildly infatuated with your approach.”
We will wrestle with some good, hard, evaluative questions back at CCC. Models and programming can never overtake mission. Regular times of questions and accountability can help ensure this doesn’t happen.
At breakfast, my youth-group-freshman-turned-doctor friend and I talked about how treacherous many treat the Bride of Jesus. Have you read I Corinthians? Some will claim community and family with their church, but leave when a crazy person ticks them off. You don’t leave your family when a crazy uncle ticks you off. You don’t walk away from your bride if things get a little weird. Well… you shouldn’t. Some turn a bride into a club. Some commit vicious acts of adultery. Some just get lazy and quit working on the relationship… content with a lifeless organization instead of a living, vibrant organism. The treacherous treatment of Christ’s glorious bride is why so much ineffectiveness reigns in church world. It’s time… it’s always time… for some hard questions.
Finishing up “Deep & Wide” only pushes me towards my next book, “Community” by Brad House. I doubt if Stanley and House will agree in approaches. I trust, however, their mission of discipleship will remain relentless and undeterred. I love the many expressions of Jesus’ Bride. I can glean from Stanley and Chandler and Driscoll and Keller others like great marriage counselors enabling me to elevate my bride. There is great diversity with great effectiveness to lean into. I will use all resources given to help me lead and love Jesus’ Bride in ways I would be proud to expound on at any beach side breakfast.
Perhaps you and I should do breakfast and check up on our brides.