A few years ago, I was at a worship ministry conference with some friends. The speakers were great. The breakouts were informative. The worship music was amazing. But I was conflicted in my thoughts, in my heart, and in my spirit. I found the picture above, taken during that conference. That’s me, front and center, in the midst of a thousand worshipers, with my hands in my pockets and my head down.
I think my introspection during that conference happened when I attended a post session gathering at a nearby hotel. I met one of the breakout speakers and spoke some about the topic on which he would be sharing. Then, he asked the question that I haven’t been able to forget.
He asked me, “Hey, what’s your vibe?”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “What?”
“What’s your church vibe?” he asked.
“I’m not sure I understand your question,” I replied.
He chuckled and said, “I mean, do you have a Hillsongs vibe, a Bethel vibe, an old Willow type vibe, a Vous Church vibe, or someone else? I mean, who are you trying to be like?”
Now, I don’t live in the dark ages. I know and admire all of those churches, but I’m not trying to be “like” any of them.
I guess I drifted off in thought some so he asked once again, “Come on, man. Who are you trying to be like?”
I smiled nervously and answered, “Jesus.”
He chuckled and quickly moved on to someone else with a different vibe.
As I write this, I’m at another conference. Once again, I’m conflicted and distant. Not because of the conference. It’s great and I’m learning a lot. But I can’t stop thinking about that conference a few years ago. I can’t help but wonder if I’m living up to my answer.
My prayer today is, “Lord, help me to always strive to be like You. Forgive me if I’ve ever reduced You or Your church to a vibe, a musical style, or a brand. You are my Lord. Help me die to myself daily, take up my cross, and follow You.”