Some people who read this post might not even remember transparencies. It was very popular technology several years ago. Clear sheets of plastic were written upon, or images were printed on, and a projector focused a beam of light through the transparency and onto a screen. That technology was the trail blazer for the fancy projectors that now transfer images from a computer to a screen in the conference rooms of large corporations, mega churches, and dozens of other applications.
Oh, before I forget, we do have great Power Point presentations. Water falls, Scripture texts, and the preachers main points. And, as you might expect, each song is on the screen for all to see. It has become standard fare in the majority of houses of worship across the land. It’s great tech stuff, why not use it for the Lord? Just don’t forget the transparencies.
The “transparencies” I have in mind are not the mostly obsolete technology of years gone by but lives that are an open book. I worship with a group of believers who openly admit their failures, their weakness, struggles with bad habits, or even worse. And, our leaders show the way.
In many churches the pastor, or the deacons, or elders, or prominent Sunday School teachers live above the nitty-gritty of sin and doubt and fear. They are not soiled by the flesh and its constant war with the Spirit of God in them. Really? Or, do they play the part of victorious, Spirit filled believer who never messes up?
Why not just keep it real? After the invitation where I worship we have “family time“. It’s a time for anyone to respond, to ask for prayer, to confess a sin, to offer thanksgiving. Today was a powerful example of being transparent. Two of our leaders, in public and on purpose, pulled back the curtain on failure and disappointments in their lives. They asked for forgiveness and they received it! There were hugs and kisses and pats on the back and words of encouragement and everyone goes home arm in arm, back in the fight for Jesus and His kingdom work.
Don’t be a hypocrite. Church leader, why not lead the way and be transparent with your people? If you don’t, this is what will happen. Each Sunday the pews will fill with people who are hiding their sin, cloaking their fears, and feeling alone because to them it feels as if they are the only one in the congregation who struggles and sometimes falls. Why not be honest, you and I are not finished products in the sanctification department…yet.
How will you bear your brother or sister’s burden if you have no idea what it is? How will you pray effectively for another if all you know is a mask? And how will you confess your sins one to another…if you don’t have any? Oh, we all have them don’t we? You should purpose that you will do what you can with God’s help to make your church a healing place, a safe place, where imperfect people are welcomed and loved and not judged.
Start using your transparency.