Any time a quote is attributed to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it demands attention and possibly the breaking out of a handy Moleskin because memorization may help you become a better person.
He once was quoted discussing the issues associated with the Church when he said, “11 a.m. Sunday is the most segregated hour in America.” For years, pastors among diverse congregations have either combated or contributed to this axiom for decades.
Although some may have no clue this aphorism was ever uttered, it seems one man in Florida with quite the ecumenical legacy not only knows about it, but also is heaven-bent on doing something about it. Tullian Tchividjian is a man with both an incredible anointing on his life, and one huge pair of feet. Why? The shoes this cat has been placed in some massive shoes to fill.
His first pair of wing tips belong to his granddaddy, a gent named Billy Graham? Maybe you have heard of him? I was told he was a big deal. Moreover, Dr. Graham has met the aforementioned Dr. King, so he would know a lot about the hour of segregation.
The second pair of Hush Puppies belonged the highly esteemed Dr. D. James Kennedy. A couple of years ago, Dr. Kennedy went home to be with Jesus and left the pulpit of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) vacant. After what seemed like American Pastor Idol was complete, the Elder Board called upon young Tullian to pastor the historical church.
It wasn’t without creating some cantankerous hullabaloo that needed to happen, but once cooler minds prevailed, the church lowered their old-man pants from midriff and got a little more progressive.
And now, thanks to this article in the Christian Post, we see things are even more progressive – and somewhat inspired by Dr. King.
CRPC in Fort Lauderdale now offers only one service at 10:15 a.m. with, essentially, blended worship – that means no more separation based on age, likes and comfort. The aim by church leaders, including Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, was to unite the congregation and demonstrate the power of the Gospel.
Naturally, there will some compromise between the “Old Rugged Cross” and “For the Cross,” but despite the whimsical guitar riffs and slow melodious chords on the pipe organ, the object is getting everyone to the Cross.
Yes, Dr. King was clearly discussing race, but Pastor Tullian took another demographic clearly segregated more seriously and decided that wall needed to come tumbling down.
“The best way a church can demonstrate unifying power of the Gospel before our very segregated world is to maintain a community that transcends cultural barriers,” Tchividjian said in a sermon earlier this month. “The church should be the one institution, the one community – this countercultural community – in our world that breaks barriers down.”
Man, preach that. Saints, we need to learn because this decision – as bold as it was – reflects the microcosm that exists inside the entire Church, not just his. Go to any church or watch TBN for any period of time and you will easily see we are not a “Catholic” church. There is nothing universal inside of it.
Country clubs have strict rules about keeping out the riff raff. Why? Because they can. The only difference with churches is that there are no printed signs in the parking lot. This may seem like a stretch to make an ideological statement out of removing the Gomer worship service, but there is validity in it.
Churches should dig internally and discover ways to unify their congregations in every way possible. And if that means worship leaders can mix in a classic hymn with an upbeat twist versus some random David Crowder tune no one outside of folk with the CD has heard, then so be it. If you don’t believe, check out the guy who sounds like he is channeling Grandpa.
Explaining the significance of removing barriers, Tchividjian told the congregation, “The only way to know God deeply is to have many different types of Christian people in your life since each person will reveal a part of God that you cannot see by yourself. That means this: that the great tragedy of segregation is not so much that we see less of each other but that in seeing less of each other, we see less of God.”
Yeah, the next time I am in Fort Lauderdale, I am so checking out this worship service. I’m sure the pastor isn’t that shabby either.