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How Your Church is Like a New Operating System

When both of my computers crashed a few years ago – at the same time! – I purchased identical machines, one for my office at church and the other at home where I prepare my sermons and do much of my writing.

The new computers were equipped with Microsoft’s operating system known as Windows 7.

It took me awhile to adjust to this new (for me) software, and now I’ve gotten used to it, at least as much as I can understand such things.

Windows 7 does what I need for it to do; that is, get me around my computer with limited discomfort.

Of course, it is like the human brain. I probably use 1 percent of its capabilities. But again, as long as it works for me, I’m reasonably happy.

Microsoft later came out with Windows 8, then 8.1, followed by 9. As far as I know, these new versions were a bit of a bust and made little money for the company.

Now, however, they have produced Windows 10, and it’s free! In fact, it is so free my computer keeps prompting me to download it.

Every time I turn around, I’m getting what are known as “pop-up” messages encouraging me – yea, intimidating me – to move to the next rendering of the Windows operating system.

But something holds me back from doing so. Maybe it is that this new system is vastly different from the one that has taken me several years to learn – “learn” being a relative and limited term, of course.

Or perhaps it’s because I know that if I give in and change to Windows 10, doing so and then learning the new system will take more time and effort than I want to give to it.

Bottom line: I refuse to let Microsoft determine what I will do with my life.

But sometimes I feel like I’ve taken on the role of Microsoft when it comes to my church.

I find myself pushing my congregation – cajoling them, seeking to inspire them – to move from their comfortable operating system to a new and revised format.

Isn’t life in Christ, life in participation with the church, supposed to keep pushing us beyond the boundaries we have set for ourselves? Isn’t it my job to encourage my church to do more, give more, work more for Jesus?

And didn’t Jesus do the same with his disciples? On every page of the gospels, we find Jesus pushing his followers toward experiences with God they’ve never had before.

Every question he puts to them probes their hearts, not to mention their motivations, and shoves them toward the edge of their faith and understanding.

Jesus wants them, in order to participate in kingdom work, to be more than they are.

My resistance to Microsoft, in some respects, mirrors my reluctance to commit myself more fully to Jesus. Windows 7 is comfortable and familiar. With it, I know what to expect.

Version 10 would ask of me something I’m not sure I want to give, such as time and effort, as well as exploring the unfamiliar.

Maybe my aversion to this new operating system mirrors my lack of willingness to commit myself more fully to my Lord.

Chances are, one of these days I will give in and do the download. So, Microsoft, be patient with me. Jesus, I ask the same of you.

Randy Hyde is senior pastor of Pulaski Heights Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.