Celebration is part of who we are. We are wired with a need for celebration. It is in us.
We all celebrate something: your favorite team wins a big game, a loved one’s birthday, a new job, getting out of debt. Whatever it is, the common denominator in all of it is that it is something special or important to us. Our heart is attached to it. I’ll say it a different way. You don’t celebrate something you don’t care about.
That can be a convicting statement. What do I tend to celebrate? Is it Kingdom-oriented or me-oriented? Is it stuff that Jesus would celebrate? We see this play out in Luke 10 when the seventy-two are sent out to go before Jesus and return. During their journey, Jesus gives them the power to cast out demons. And, that is what they came back celebrating. They didn’t celebrate the doors of ministry that were opening, the life change they saw, or the fact that they got to participate in what Jesus was doing. Jesus called them on it. He told them not to celebrate the fact that spirits submitted to them, but that their names were written in heaven. He re-oriented their celebration.
Then, Jesus does something very interesting in response to this. He, himself celebrates. Luke 10:21 says “At that time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure.” The word rejoice that is used here in Greek means “getting so glad one jumps in celebration; to exult (boast) because you’re so experientially joyful”.
He was pumped! Jesus celebrated the fact that the disciples were becoming disciple makers. The method became tangible. This is our first glimpse of the New Testament church beginning to come alive. That was worth celebrating!
What are you celebrating personally, with your team, or your congregation? As leaders, we should be intentionally celebrating the right things. It is culture-building, it inspires people, and it honors the mission of Jesus.
At my church, I can’t say we have it all figured out, but we are putting a much larger emphasis into celebration. We’ve realized we have to be intentional about building it into our culture. We take time during service on a regular basis to call out and celebrate what God is doing, corporately as a church body. We intentionally collect what we call “God stories” from our small groups every week. Some of those turn into video or written stories that are shared with the church. We give out “win pins” during all-staff meetings when someone goes above and beyond to display one of our staff virtues. Celebrating these things re-aligns our hearts to what is important to God and helps us remember our why we are here, and when we remember well – we worship well.
Celebration is vitally important in the life of a disciple-making church.
What is celebrated is repeated by your staff and church.
God is moving in your church and in the lives of those you have been called to shepherd, and it’s worth celebrating well!
by Christian Miller – Executive Pastor