Organ (ism vs. ization)

Two Sundays ago, I was riding my friend Kyle’s motorcycle in a field and misjudged a turn. The right handlebar along with my right hand hit a chicken wire fence and a vertical fence post, breaking two metacarpals (hand bones). I also got some road rash on my right elbow and knee and a pretty intense exhaust-pipe shaped burn on my right calf. These injuries are why I didn’t blog last week. I will probably be blogging a lot less for a few weeks.

Last Tuesday, I went to an orthopedic surgeon who does not believe I will need surgery. I find out for sure today. We discussed my bass playing and other hobbies and decided surgery would have no impact on them. The surgeon is a bassist himself and a huge fan of Pino Palladino (honestly, what bassist isn’t?).

However, he did tell me to stop playing for the duration of the time I will be in a splint. My thumb and index finger are free, but the lateral pressure from playing could adversely impact my healing. So, I set off into the longest break from playing my bass I’ve had for the last 16 years. Sunday, at church, I mostly just observed and gave feedback.

It is a serious bummer not to be able to play. Playing music is my pressure valve. It is my way of expressing my emotions. It has become one of the main ways I worship God. And yet, I also feel a sense of excitement for these coming weeks (and not just the two I will be on vacation).

This will give me the push to learn some new things (like creating digital music, creating slides for church, typing with my left hand and right index finger). It will give me a chance to indulge in other oft-neglected passions, especially production. A song is not just a bunch of people playing certain notes at certain times. Sure, if you just do that, you can end up with a song, but not with the song’s full potential. Producers suggest modifications, subtle or extreme, that draw the full message from each piece of a song.

A church service is also not just a bunch of individuals executing their role. It shouldn’t be at least. Everyone volunteering is important and has an impact on everyone else. There is no such thing as a menial job. Jody Giles preached at Revolution on Sunday and had a line that really struck me as something important that we gloss over too easily. In the Bible, the church is not defined in terms of being an organization. It is defined in terms of being an organism. Any broken or damaged part of an organism hurts the whole. When the mission of the organism is to tell people about a new life with Jesus, then a hurting organism is hurting the people outside of it by decreasing its ability to execute that mission. An organization just reorganizes or divests in the face of brokenness.

I think one of the biggest problems we have as church leaders is our tendency to train volunteers in a task and fail to help them understand how that task helps the organism (church) perform its mission. Sometimes, we have an awesome vision for our church and we even communicate it well from the stage/pulpit but we fail to ensure that the parts of our organism understand that they are a part and that all parts are important parts.

I’m grateful for every person who serves at Revolution, and now that I can’t play for a few weeks, expect to see me wondering the hallway encouraging people, sharing a laugh, attempting to help and so on. I want you all to know you are an integral part of the organism, and I’ll try to use my producer’s eye to get these puzzle pieces, which are already fitting together so well, to really enhance one another.

Prayers for positive X-ray results this afternoon coveted and appreciated.

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