Does the Church Play Chess?

Wes  —  January 28, 2012
  • Sumo

Last night, while playing a game of chess, something occurred to me: a person wins or loses, based on how far down the road he has the ability to see. A player, before moving a piece, must be able to see the chain-of-events which a move will set into motion. The more moves in the future, a player sees, the more likely he is to win. If he is only thinking about the current move, and not the dangers to which that move opens him up, will certainly lose.

Does the Church Play Chess?

Unfortunately, it seems to me, we have too few people in the church who have strategic foresight. There are too many who simply think about what we’re doing today; they are not looking at where our actions today will lead. Too many of us don’t fully understand the concept of cause and effect. We must do our best to develop the ability to strategize, and look down the road. We must see that our engaging in a particular behavior now, might open us up to attacks from the enemy years from now.

There are many things to which this principle would apply, but let me give you just one example of what I mean. Please forgive me if I step on any toes; believe me, I am about to step on my own. Consider this question, have our VBS programs been very strategic? I understand that in the adult mind (including mine), we have justified singing “Father Abraham” by saying, “This is not a worship service.” But can our children really make that distinction? Do they realize that what we sing in VBS would be completely inappropriate during worship? Do they realize that we would never consider asking the congregation to stand, sing, move your arms, nod your head, turn around, sit down? So, there is a seeming inconsistency, which may very well be confusing our children.

And what is worse, is where a “seeming” inconsistency like this, might lead. I wonder, are we teaching our children that worship is about entertainment? I don’t know about you, but I want my children to ask, “How can we make worship more pleasing to God?” Not, “How can we make worship more entertaining?” And I wonder, are our puppet shows and “happy-clappy” song services in Vacation Bible School, the right moves, considering where they might lead? Might it be better to teach them that our singing is for pleasing God? Might it be better to teach them to worship, rather than teaching them to be entertained?

I am not promoting the idea of living in fear. I am not saying we should never do anything, because it might lead to something else. I am simply saying, let’s be strategic. Let’s look down the road. Let’s understand that our actions have positive and negative implications for future generations.

Please understand, this article is not written to chastise anyone else! I am simply thinking out-loud about my own life and inconsistencies, and the attacks to which those inconsistencies might later open me up. What are your thoughts? Please consider leaving a comment below.

I love you and a wonderful God loves you,

Wes McAdams