15 Oct Mosaic Turns 25, Plus a Sermon on Politics
Twenty-five years ago this fall, in 1995, Mosaic Church was planted here in Austin, Texas, by a man named Dave Soto, first as Morning Star Christian Church, which became known as Christ Community Church, and in 2015 became known as Mosaic Church of Austin. There have been, as you can see from just that last sentence alone, many changes over the past twenty years, and for all God has done through us and in us, we rejoice. And this upcoming Sunday, we are going to take a moment to rejoice in all God has done.
But as much as I am looking forward to celebrating the first twenty-five years, this morning, I’d also like to ask: What about the next twenty-five years?
What can we hope for — really, what should we hope for over the next quarter-century? Let me give you a couple of choices:
Should we hope for Mosaic to continue virtually unchanged because you love it and just don’t want it to change?
Should we pray that God would do something totally new and different?
Should we hope for something else altogether?
Before I give you my answer, let me give you one thought to set that answer up. One of the most amazing things about our modern culture over the past twenty years is how fast many fundamental assumptions about the world have changed– and in case this truth is lost on you, just go home and watch an episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, and prepare to have your mind blown.
You say, all right, but what about orthodox Christianity? Haven’t there been changes over the years to that? Yes, but nothing like the changes in cultures in general or non-belief in particular. Any deists or utilitarians still out there? Didn’t think so.
But, if you go back and read St. Augustine from the fifth century or Luther from the 16th and, say, Tim Keller/T.D.Jakes/Tony Evans/Francis Chan/Beth Moore/Ruth Haley Barton in the 21st century, you’ll get the sense, and rightly so, that in their core beliefs, these are all brothers and sisters in the faith who believe the same things. Are they different as well? Of course — and the reason they are different is that they were/are interacting with the radically different cultures and kinds of non-belief of their time, which shows us this: on one hand, how we express ourselves must change as the years progress. Yet what we express must not- the core beliefs of Christianity and the Gospel of Jesus found in things like the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed.
How we express ourselves must change; what we express never should. Or, to put it this way, and to answer my earlier question:
Mosaic must change in order to stay the same.
What do I mean?
I mean this: It’s easy to get emotionally attached to a specific aspect of a church’s ministry — like the name, the location, a style of music, the exact order of service, or the personality of that staff member you really like. And if that happens it’s understandable! When you’ve been helped and changed by a congregation or a pastor it is natural to love just about every part of it and to want to see nothing changed. But I think if we did that or when we do that, that would be to make the Mosaic of the past into a kind of idol. We must not try to hold on to the past in every detail, and yet we must hold on to what is most critical as we go, so that if “old-timers” around 20 years from now are asked, “Is Mosaic different than it was 20 years ago?” they will say, “It’s different in many ways, but, at heart…it’s the same.”
For a number of months, we met only online. Now, we have a hybrid approach: some in person, most online. We are different, but the same. What will the next 12 months look like? What will we look like in a year? My hope is, again, differently the same.
The same church, called by God, held together by Jesus Christ, breathed upon by the Holy Spirit, making disciples in a multiethnic, multigenerational context through the core values of worship, community and mission–and yet, adapting and contextualizing along the way.
So, cameras, no cameras, in person, at home…this Sunday, let’s take a moment to celebrate.
And actually… I’d like to ask you to help us start celebrating right now by participating in something we are calling our “$25 for 25 Contest”. We would love it if you would consider submitting a photo and short story from a meaningful experience you’ve had at Mosaic at any point during your time here to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can post it to your social media account and use the hashtag #mymosaicstory in your caption.
Our staff will be selecting the top 25 stories (no criteria, just favorites) and we will give away twenty-five $25 gift cards to Phil’s Icehouse to help us celebrate a little bit more. So make us smile, laugh, cry, think or reflect in some way and lunch or dinner could be yours! This all starts…right now! Today our “contest” opens up and will run through next Thursday (10/22) at noon. And of course, you will hear more about this Sunday as well.
I hope to “see” you there, where I’ll also be preaching about how the church of Jesus can and should handle the upcoming election. So, you know, there’s that, too. 🙂
See you then,