The church could learn a lot from Adele, and not just how to write hauntingly passionate songs. Adele was recently asked to headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Adele told fans at a recent show in Los Angeles that she turned the offer down.
So, first of all, I’d like to tell you, I’m not doing the Super Bowl. Well, come on … that show is not about music. And I don’t dance or anything like that. So they were very kind; they did ask me, but I did say no. I’m sorry.
There is no doubt a Halftime Show would have raised Adele’s profile even more, but Adele recognized her weaknesses and limits. She knew it wouldn’t be a good fit for her. “I know I’m not Beyoncé,” the pop superstar went on to say.
Often churches are tempted to jump on the next big trend, copy what the successful church in town is doing or try to replicate the worship that works in another setting.
We need to recognize our limits and weaknesses, and realize what works for one church may not work for ours. Most Presbyterian Churches are not Hillsong or Saddleback or Willow Creek or House for All Saints and Sinners… and that is okay.
Each church has been uniquely gifted to succeed in the mission God calls it to. The church has within itself everything it needs to run its race.
I’m reminded of the story of David and Goliath. King Saul and the other soldiers wanted David to put on armor and fight Goliath how they would fight him: sword in hand and toe to toe. David had no experience with swords and armor, though. David wasn’t ready to die in someone else’s armor. He trusted the gifts and skills God had given him. He knew he was good with a sling, so why die with a sword in his hand?
Every church has gifts and skills. Use those. Don’t die in someone else’s armor. Don’t drop your trusted sling for a sword you’ve never swung.
This doesn’t mean you never try anything new out of fear of failure. David using his sling to fight a soldier rather than scare off lions with a new thing. He was trying a new thing utilizing his gifts and assets. That is what the church is called to do. What new thing is God calling you try with your gifts, skills and assets?
It’s okay to say no, because saying yes can often hurt you more. It’s okay to refuse someone else’s armor or an invitation to do a Super Bowl Half-Time Show. Just keep following the mission and calling God has called you and your church to. You have everything you need to succeed. The first step is believing that.
STEPHEN McKINNEY-WHITAKER is pastor and head of staff at United Presbyterian Church of Peoria, Illinois.