I love sports, especially baseball and professional football. Both sports now make wise use of “instant replay” (though we still sometimes debates decisions, even with the replay). As we approach another weekend of football, I’ve been thinking about times I wish churches had “instant replay.” Here are some of those times:
- A powerful baptism – I remember the little boy who was so excited he literally dove into the baptistery. I also recall the mother who shouted aloud when her adult son illustrated his faith through baptism by immersion. I’d love to be in both places again.
- A tough verbal exchange – This one’s not a positive one, but I’ve lived through too many “he said, she said” or “I can’t believe you said that” church experiences. Maybe an instant replay would help all of us admit our own sin.
- Conversion experiences – I’d start with my own, reliving the day over 40 years ago when God made me His child. Then, I’d walk through all the other life transformations I’ve seen God do in my ministry. He’s still a life-changing God, you know!
- A Lord’s Supper observance – I would recall glorious times, like sharing the meal with church members at Jesus’ open tomb in Jerusalem. At the same time, I’d also use instant replay to help us do a better job of serving the meal in a church. Sometimes our approach is so disorganized we actually hinder the worship experience.
- The anguish of a fall – Sit for a while with a brother or sister who’s completely shattered over sinful choices. Look hard at the price a family and loved ones pay for a fall. A few anonymous instant replays of brokenness might help the rest of us make better choices.
- A first, second (or third, etc.) sermon in a weekend – Many times I’ve been preaching the same message multiple times in a weekend, and I can’t remember what I’ve said previously in other services or in this service. Instant replay might help me deal with these overlap worries.
- Death of a saint – I don’t mean this one morbidly at all; in fact, I add this one with all seriousness. Some of the sweetest moments I’ve had in ministry have been sitting with strong believers who pass peacefully into the presence of God.
- Recurrent church conflict – When the same people create church conflict for multiple pastors, it wouldn’t hurt to have instant replay. Perhaps it would save the next potential pastor from getting wounded – and help keep the search committee honest.
- Reconciliation moments – It’s hard to put into words what happens when two disconnected, angry people turn from sin and reconcile under the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s glorious, potent, and unforgettable. It would do me good to see some of those replays occasionally.
What other “instant replay” moments would you want?