What if we could bridge the generational gap within the American Christian Church with the simple act of humility? In our thought-provoking conversation with Reverend Dr. Chad Lakies, we navigate the path to a more cohesive Christian community. As we echo Jesus' humility, we learn the importance of intergenerational connection and the transformative effect it can have on our churches. Our discussion with Reverend Lekees unravels the significance of listening and learning from each other, while shedding light on how pride can act as a barrier to our younger generation.
Reverend Dr. Chad Lakies shares an inspirational journey, transitioning from an atheist band drummer to a church leader. His story illuminates the power of genuine Christian hospitality and emphasizes on the vital need to create welcoming spaces within our churches. This open environment allows room for those wrestling with questions and doubts to freely express their thoughts. Listen in as we explore the ways our churches can become a safe haven for people from all walks of life.
Our enriching talk with Reverend Dr. Lakies also reveals how the gospel can reshape our perception of work, turning obligations into gifts. We investigate the potential pitfalls of treating evangelism as a marketing project, and instead, focus on introducing people to Jesus. We touch upon the role of ecclesiology, law and gospel, and spiritual disciplines in creating true disciples of Jesus. Furthermore, we delve into the doctrine of vocation, its significance in Christian life and the influence it carries over parenting. Chad reinforces the power of intentional action in positively impacting young lives. So, tune in, let's discover the importance of authenticity, humility, and small acts of service in creating disciples and bridging generational gaps.
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Hello and welcome to the brand new American Reformation Podcast. We long to see the wider American Christian Church fall more in love with Jesus by learning from the practices of the early church and other eras of discipleship multiplication. We want to hear from you, make sure you comment and leave a review, wherever you're watching or listening, to tell us what God is doing in your life or how you feel about today's conversation. Lord, have your way in us, just dive in.Speaker 2:
Welcome to the American Reformation Podcast, tim Allman, here today with my brother from another mother. His name is Chad Lekees, reverend Dr Chad Lekees. We met Chad and I met at a leadership gathering hosted by Concordia Publishing House, cph and Lutheran Church Extension Fund. We realized which happens quite a bit in the Lutheran Church of Missouri that we had a lot of overlapping streams and relationships. So a little bit about Chad before we get into our conversation today. He was a part of a. If you're in the St Louis community, you've heard of Crave. While he was a student in a vicar in St Louis he was a part of Crave, then got his PhD and went and served at Concordia University in Portland right before their closure a number of years ago. And now he has landed at Concordia. No, lutheran Hour Ministries. There's so many Concordias and Lutherans going on Lutheran Hour Ministries And we're going to hear a little bit about his work. But before we do that, chad, welcome to the American Reformation Podcast. Standard question What are you praying, brother, for Reformation, just at the broad level in the American Christian Church today? Welcome, brother. Thanks for your time.Speaker 3:
Tim, thanks for having me Real quickly for your listeners. I've just come to realize how good of a listener you actually are And so, yeah, that'd be one prayer that more of us are surrounded by people who are willing to listen. Other prayers are that the generational difference that seems to exist in the church between sort of the old guard people who've been kind of Lutheran their whole life, brought up this way, sort of known it one way forever, would more and more interact with the spirit of listening, humility, with those who are younger. I used to not be a Lutheran or even a Christian, but there are many more who are trying to come, even after you and I, to figure out what does it mean to be a Christian in our time? And there seems to be some kind of discontinuity between what they're experiencing and feeling and wrestling with and the ways that kind of have been for the older Christians, tried and true And well, why would we think about it any other way? Do it any other way? But those are still, i think, good and curious questions where both groups can kind of press on and mold one another. But I'm not sure that wherever we finally end up, it's going to land in the sense of one side saying hey see, i was right all along, but maybe God is up to something new, and I'm just praying that the opportunities to listen and learn from one another, especially generationally, would be fostered.Speaker 2:
Yes, yes, right before we went on. I'm talking about reading the new large catechism put out by CPH and with contemporary applications, annotations, all of that and many wonderful contributions there. But Luther's preface to the large catechism and his real call, he gets pretty harsh. You can see me with a lot of pastors who are no longer learning staying in the word, staying in catechesis, and I think, if I could just boil it down, he's calling for he is calling for humility. Readers are leaders And I pray that more of our leaders would have that sense of humility. Humilitas is a book, and I just remembered the name of the author. John Dixon came out with a book called Humilitas and he looked at the origin, chad, of humility. Did you ever read that book, is it?Speaker 3:
really a dollar? No, I'm not even familiar with it.Speaker 2:
So he did a study out of a university in Australia, a secular study, on the origins of humility, because he was looking at emperors and kings that had gone before, and a lot of times in the historical annals they would even exaggerate their accomplishments, right, but somehow over the last 2000 years this sort of boasting in culture in general is looked down upon. And so he was like look and when did this shift occur? Where humility, especially among those who were in positions of power, is elevated, it is a strong character trait And newsflash. It all oriented around the person and work of Jesus Christ, god in the flesh, who humbled himself Philippians, chapter 2, even to the point of death and a cross, and out of that God elevated him, the Father elevated him. So the more we know about one respective discipline maybe it's exegesis or history or science in general the more we know. and then you've got a number of different streams and all of those kind of disciplines right. The more we know about one respective stream, the more it should humble us and how little we know about the other respective streams. To go deeper on that, do you think that's one of the areas where, because you spent a lot of time contemplating how to disciple the next generation and maybe young adults, who may be skeptical. Is it that pride of this is the way You must do it like this. I'm speaking in very general terms here, but do you think that's one of the things that sounds and smells gross to the younger generation? Go deeper in terms of humility and intergenerational connection.Speaker 3:
You know, i don't know if it necessarily smells gross. I think there are a lot of young people out there who realize people who've lived longer than them, been doing it longer than them, have wisdom to offer, but they, i think, don't feel as if they are treated with a similar kind of respect. right, maybe they've learned something that they could teach the old dogs, right, but in a sense all of us are still able to learn new tricks. You know Luther, his character. he seems to fail this way all the time, and it could be something like a deathbed confession. but I think it's more consistent throughout his theology, i mean, even in some of his earlier works, like the Heidelberg Disputation, there's a lot of sense of humility about what we can know there, and Luther was pushing back significantly on a certain kind of speculative theology. But at the end of his life he says you know all of my books, they're straw right. I mean the only one that he wanted to keep, where he thought he did something really good and made a significant contribution was, you know, on the bondage of the will. And if only all of us could have an attitude like that. But we don't have to go back for such old models. I mean Luther is a kind of paragon model for us in the Reformation tradition. But I really liked David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, his book A Road to Character. He was actually writing it in the midst of a period of time where he was on the road to converting to Christianity from kind of a secular Judaism, and he tells that story in a second book called The Second Mountain. But essentially he just tells story after story after story in that book, the Road to Character, about how, you know, after the 1950s it really seemed like we were coming out of a societal moment when there was a lot of self-effacement. Like you know, we're not so great. you know, post-world War II there's victory and there's a certain sense of well, you know, we just need to be thankful for this moment and embrace it, because at the same time there's victory, of course there's the recognition of so much loss and destruction and horrible things committed by humans. But then he goes on to tell the story of a number of people who struggled through how to deal with their own limitations and weaknesses and find a way to be successful. And many of those people were connected to God in some way, had some sort of religious background and I think they served in a sense as a witness to him. right, he just studied their lives And in addition to that and a number of other influences, he came around to be a follower of Jesus himself.Speaker 2:
That's powerful. Who is the author of The Road to Character? What's his name? again?Speaker 3:
Yeah, David Brooks is his name.Speaker 2:
David Brooks. Check that out, bro, That's awesome. So tell, what I was fascinated about is your conversion story coming to faith later in life and how that shaped your ministry brother, Can you share that story?Speaker 3:
Yeah, i'll try to be brief. I converted to Christianity, became a follower of Jesus in the middle of my freshman year of college. Prior to that I had grown up in a nominally Christian home And by that really it was Christian and name only. We were Roman Catholic. I was catechized all the way through, from about first or second grade on through through eighth grade. Pretty similar experience, i think. From what I understand, you know confirmation programs to be for people in the Reformation tradition, but I walked away from that kind of not really knowing the significance of Jesus, not sure if that was the teacher's fault or if it's mine, you know, just not paying attention to all that well, but I encountered kind of the end of that period where in a sense it's this moment in the eighth grade where you kind of put on the cloak of faith and own it for yourself. They kind of treat you like an adult and you know this is your confession now And in a sense you're kind of kicked out of this formative environment to sort of keep it for yourself in a sense, and because there's nothing going on in my home life, there's nothing really to make it sticky, important in ways that are bigger and beyond. You know just the sort of well, this is a good idea to be part of the church. I wanted the first ticket that I could find out of some of those obligations, like going to church randomly whenever my parents would decide to do so, which was not more than you know, maybe very few times per year. But I didn't want to do it and I didn't know why we were doing it, and so I didn't really feel like I was leaving anything behind because there wasn't that rootedness. So all through high school I was an atheist. I encountered the biological theory of evolution and freshman biology class And I thought that made a lot of sense of things, and it really does. I think we should recognize have very strong explanatory power that we've got to wrestle with as Christians in the modern age. But a parallel story to all of this is since I was a little kid I've been playing drums, and my dad had a kiddie drum set that I, as soon as I was able to sit in a chair, i was sitting down. I remember the beat that I would make up even till this day. And then I got into organized music in my school district and played in everything, like all of the ensembles. The marching band even had some garage bands and basement bands when I was in high school And every kind of music you could think of, all the venues right from the crappiest dive bar where I thought me and my drums we're going to fall through this rickety stage to like NFL football stadiums for marching band, state competitions And seriously everything in between. And then I was playing, finally, at the end of high school in a Blues Brothers cover band, taking songs from that classic movie And we had a bit of a choreographed act. And it's because the arts program at our school was so good that all of us were able to kind of put this together, as about 10 guys Played some shows, won a contest, played a bunch of graduation open houses And then, of course, we had to all go our separate ways for college. But while we were rehearsing it was in the garage of one of the lead singers. His mom was a Lutheran church praise team leader. She's heard me and thought I could hack it well enough and offered you know that I would come play drums at their church. And I said, well, wait a minute. You know I'm an atheist, right? And she said, yeah, we know. And so I thought of it and I'm okay, i'll do it if it's a gig, you know I'll take it if you pay me. So they said okay And so I started showing up roughly the middle of that summer, right after high school graduation, playing drums in church. What I experienced in that period of about six months was two things. I went in with a lot of trepidation. I was worried are you going to try to shove Jesus down my throat? Are you going to beat me over the head of the Bible and tell me I'm an immoral person because I'm an atheist And there's this presupposition that atheists have no morality? They didn't do any of those things. In fact, i was welcomed with open arms and welcomed into an environment of a bunch of more mature musicians than me. They'd been playing together for a while. They'd done lots of different things. I learned how to play live music without a conductor with them, you know, through a lot of listening. Again, it's a super important thing for musicians. And then I really kind of wanted God to make himself tangible. You know, if I'm going to believe this stuff that you're talking about, yeah, i have a lot of objections, but I want God to, you know, make it like tangibly real to me. Hello, chad, you know, repent and believe the gospel. I need to hear that audibly or it's written up on the wall somewhere. You know something like that. And neither of those things happened. But what did happen was playing drums there. I felt like I played better and I had more fun than all these other venues and previous kinds of musical style or ensemble I've been in. I couldn't really explain that. So that genuine Christian hospitality that I experienced and you know the sense of playing drums in that environment. You know, maybe the scout is real, maybe he created me to have this ability and maybe when I use it for him it goes better. I didn't know. I still really don't know the answer to that question, but it was enough to become a tipping point. So in the middle of my freshman year I went to bed one night and I said God, i still don't know if you're real, but I'll give you a chance. And that changed everything about my life. I went from being somebody who didn't really like school to. You know, i suddenly was devouring books, trying to answer the questions that I had to deal with the conversion experience. I started to like to write a little bit. I fairly quickly felt the call to go to seminary and people at that congregation, you know, poured into me and said we see that aptitude in you too. And so off I went And, um, god does what God does. You know, there's a number of tangential bits to that story, but yeah, that's the basic bit.Speaker 2:
That's so amazing. I mean, just I want to be, you know, i have to share the church, but like we need more. Unless you want to, we need more churches like that man that just open-handedly love and meet young people, old people too, people that have questions, doubts, to just show Christian hospitality to them. And I'm sure you can go off on a number of different stories, like if this is the heaviness around I mean it's all the lords and so there's a lightness to it but like the work of inviting the stranger, the sojourner, those that are just trying to figure life out, and this is for all of God's people, because I bet if there was one person in that story Chad could have been a church leader, elder pastor, whatever that'd come up and said and given you like the slightest hint early on that you were not welcome, you would have bounced.Speaker 3:
Is that true? You know it might have been. A little more pressure was required in that moment because I had made a commitment to them. Right, this was a gig they're paying me. I knew how to be professional, right, this wasn't my first rodeo in that regard. I'd already done a little bit of gigging prior, and my parents raised me with a certain kind of ethic. You know that I might have talked to the leaders about, you know. Well, hey, this person said blah, blah, blah to me. You know what do I make of that, but I probably want to bail unless there is a lot of pressure.Speaker 2:
Yeah, sure, but nonetheless, you didn't receive any of that.Speaker 3:
I mean, it was just open, no, no, and it gets to your point, i think, in terms of the character of this church, they took a risk right by bringing someone in who didn't share any of their confessional commitments and then put them into a leadership position effectively. Right, i'm up there leading music, right, and I could have probably misbehaved a lot, said a number of things like I don't believe this, this is silly, you all are stupid. I probably could have done a number of really damaging things and they probably would have booted me to the curb real fast, But they welcomed me. A number of people were praying for me. It was the spirit was just at work to get me in.Speaker 2:
That's so shaped, then the really the rest of your life up to this point, chad, because would tell our listeners about your PhD and why you got the PhD and in the discipline you received it and then and then move into your Concordia Portland kind of experience, if you would.Speaker 3:
Yeah. So I knew as I was going through the pastoral formation program that I wasn't really sure that serving a congregation in the traditional sense was the right fit for me, and so I started looking at grad school and applied for PhDs at a variety of places and was rejected. At two of the places that I applied to They wanted me to know exactly what topic I wanted to work on so they could slot me with an advisor and so on. So it wasn't because I didn't have the merit, my grades were good enough and so on, but I just didn't sort of fit their mold of how they wanted to recruit new students. So I stayed in the Concordia Seminary in St Louis, welcomed me to keep studying and slowly, over a lot of conversations, i worked out my thesis topic with my Dr, fr Joel Okamoto. He knew me from the very first year that I was there as a student and, for whatever reason, i was very attracted to how he thinks And he knew the side ministry that I was doing at Crave and really planting a new church and trying to figure out how to get that off the ground, do it faithfully but in a bit of a different style than was typical in our church body. And so, as I got going, one of the things that I figured out was I want to understand how it is that the church sort of gets off track of where God wants it to go and becomes unwittingly captive to American culture. And so I really did a lot of work on figuring out what does it mean for the church to be a community formed as a community, a place that is full of habits, habits and rituals and so on that aim us to be a particular kind of people. That's what the liturgy does and is supposed to do. But that connection to community one of the big weaknesses is, for us American Christians is just an hour on Sunday and that's not a formative enough of an environment. And so, as we live in another environment, deeply immersed, we carry in a lot of practices and habits out of that environment. We start to apply them to life in the church and then, unwittingly, we are captive to the ways of American culture and are forming better Americans than we are Christians. And so I really highlighted three different ways we do that. I talked about preaching as being captive to the therapeutic right, the triumph of the therapeutic. It's a book that was really written very prophetically in the 1960s by a guy named Philip Reif, a Jewish sociologist of culture out of the University of Pennsylvania, and essentially our preaching is captured to that, in the sense that our preaching is most often functioning as trying to make people feel better and helping them cope with the challenges of life. And it even comes across when we say very gospel oriented things like you know, it's all okay, jesus died for your sins. Well, actually it's not okay. Right, because in a horizontal relationship between us and God, right, we're clean, we're wet as shed, you know, we're made white as snow on the, on the sorry, that was vertical. Yeah, on the horizontal, you know us to people. There's still consequences for my actions, right. So, yeah, i could forgive you for that divorce or for lying against me or for you know gosh, countless things in a Christian way. but there's still consequences, right, there's a cost, and so I think our preaching needs to deal with that more significantly, and I think in many ways, lutherans are very good at that. Two others very quickly, i think. When we talk about the doctrine of vocation, it's often really narrow and captive to the culture of total work, right. So it's a kind of work hard. Give it your all, because Jesus gave his all for you. Which flip flops. The gospel turns it into a law, right? The good news is Jesus gave us all for you, so go do what he did. Well, none of us are capable of that. It's just a gift to be received, and so I think our sense of vocation is very narrow, and Luther meant it much more broadly and huge. And then, last, when we try to reach out and get people into our church, be attractive, relevant, you know, it turns evangelism into kind of a marketing project. It's not really introducing people to Jesus as much as it's trying to get them into our place right, maybe to do things like pay the bills, keep the lights on right, be the big, successful looking church compared to all the other people in town, and it's just motives get a little messed up. So that's what I worked on And what were your conclusions?Speaker 2:
I mean, that was general hypotheses, that kind of went in And then, yeah, what observations did you make? You kind of hinted at it with Lutherans and our law, gospel preaching like we are not the consumerist preachers, we will make the comfortable uncomfortable, and vice versa. So, by law and gospel, what other observations, though, especially around vocation, did you kind of discover? And because I'm geeking out right now on a number of different, i think we need more people doing sociological coupled with theological studies right now. So just go a little bit deeper. Chad, it's fascinating.Speaker 3:
Yeah, so all of them kind of circled around this pre-work that I did on ecclesiology. What does it mean to be a church community that has practices that are supposed to lead to habits, which are supposed to lead to a certain way of being right? If you think in Aristotelian terms, it's kind of carrying out the virtues, but really we can talk about it in a Lutheran sense of forming real disciples of Jesus, authentic followers of Jesus. Right, there's a certain character that goes with that. You can call it virtue, but traditionally we just use the biblical language of someone who lives more and more like Jesus. That's what our practices are meant to do, and so I was really, every time I dealt with one of those issues, bringing it back around to what does an authentic, orthodox, genuine biblical practice looks like? look like that brings us back to being a follower of Jesus, where we reflect his ways before the watching world. And so, yeah, i totally agree with you thinking about how to marry theological and sociological talk, where theology is always the primary voice, but understanding what we can from many of these other disciplines that teach us about the way communities function, for example. It's really helpful for the church and imminently practical.Speaker 2:
Imminently practical. So I'm fascinated with the power of habit and how that shapes the Christian. Jesus was obviously I like to frame it like this that it's not what would Jesus do. Jesus is perfect. Jesus, holy God, holy man, 100% healthy, could differentiate and stay connected. There's some systems work there. He's the super human man. So it's not what would Jesus do, but it's what did Jesus do on his way to fulfilling his mission. What were the practices of Jesus? So could you nail in on some of those Christian formation practices that you think the everyday baptized follower of Jesus would do well to emulate?Speaker 3:
Sure, there are even things that I'm not good at or not consistent about. Probably me too. I'm as weak as any other Christian right. But at Lutheran Hour Ministries we talk about basic spiritual disciplines like reading your Bible right, being in the Word, or reading something that helps you get into the Word like a devotion. Then we would talk about, of course, being a part of Christian community, so being in church every single Sunday, because that's where God delivers His gifts, that's where He does His work Right. We're kind of always passive receivers of His formative work. That's where the Spirit is, and when we do it together with others, there's so much more power than when we're trying to do it individually. Prayer is another one right where you find ways to talk to God, but even more so practice trying to listen to how He's moving you through life. But it's always a posture, i think, in prayer, where you're sort of you're humbled. Right, you're sitting before this awesome, awesome God, who is nevertheless inviting you to be there to hear you, but at the same time, while He's listening, he's involved in forming and shaping you to be the sort of person who hears with a different set of ears, sees the world and other people in it in a different way. Right, you're being molded to be a little more Christ-like in all of those sorts of practices. They're very basic. There's lots of other ones in the Christian church. Silence and solitude, i think, are huge and necessary in our time because of the way that we can get so pulled into our devices and the alternative realities that they offer to us. I'm a big reader, reading books and all the different ways that other people make arguments that change my mind And effectively I take that to be God working through them to reveal something bigger to my imagination about Him and this creation that He has made right. So every time my assumptions are challenged, that's formative as well.Speaker 2:
Amen, amen. No, that's so good, it really is this simplicity. And then setting the rhythm. And I'm a morning, i'm a morning guy, and if I don't start my morning, i'm moving my body and, through movement of body, allowing the mind to be moved more and more after the heart and mind of Jesus. Again, we're not pursuing perfection, just progress here, just meditating on the Word, the miracle morning. For me, chad is like push-ups, planks, prayer, word, all of that kind of did to get myself going. So again, there's so much grace in this conversation. We're following Jesus, right. I mean, we've been baptized into His name. He's not ashamed of us, he loves us. He knows our frailty, he knows how our desires get misoriented and how much we just want to be around Him because His Spirit lives within us. He's so, so near to us. And I think, as we talk about the younger generation, you and I now we're roughly the same age. We're firmly in Middle Age, bill, their Chad and I'm owning it. It's okay, it's cool. I got three kids in their teen years right now. But talk about, especially in your work at Concordia Portland, some of the misconceptions that maybe our older Jesus followers may have of our younger Jesus followers today, and how did your work there at Concordia Portland kind of shape your understanding of that next generation?Speaker 3:
Yeah, i think a big misunderstanding that came out about a decade or so ago is the sense that millennials and the early Gen Zers are something like the Me Me Me generation, that they're all just a bunch of narcissists. And there's so much alternative research to counter that, but that message kind of got into the popular mainstream media. And then there, of course, there's always sort of this, this interesting tendency amongst older generations looking down on younger generations and seeing that they're handling the world differently. They've got different problems and challenges than the older generations have And we've got a bad memory as older generations. Like you know, if, looking back, we've made it so far in life And it feels like what we went through wasn't as difficult before, and so when we see younger generations going through something difficult, we're like what's wrong with them? Why do they have so many problems? But you know, in addition to that feeling and that sensibility, is this the sense that they're all about me, the Me Me Me generation. They're all a bunch of individualistic people, but the counter research actually says no. They are people who are looking to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to leave a mark on the world. They want to. They're already thinking at a young age about their legacy And since, how will they be remembered? They might not articulate it that way, but when you talk about leaving a mark on the world, you know they're thinking about how will I be remembered. And so I think for us, as people who are working with young people, we've got such a great opportunity in terms of inviting them into the Christian story, because what better story to invite them into than the one of the grandeur of God working in the world. Right, paul says Christ is in the world, reconciling, right, that's one way of characterizing Luther. Talked about you know his classic doctrine of vocation, and it talks about every single role that you might have in life. Some that are permanent you're born a son or a daughter, you're never not a son or a daughter. Some that come later and endure, becoming a spouse or a parent. Some that are temporary, being a certain kind of employer or employee or a student or a volunteer, and on and on right, being a citizen. All of these things help you see every aspect of your life as a role through which God is reaching down from heaven to use you, as if Luther would say behind a mask right To work and care for his neighbor. So the most mundane, ordinary and often undesirable and gross things, the stuff that we don't want to do, you know, like changing diapers, you can actually flip that whole story and say this service to my little baby has eternal significance, right. And so for moms and dads who are just deep into that kind of parental element of life and it's a difficult part of, i mean, this child is super needy, right. But that takes us back into you know the gospel, you know Matthew 18 and the focus on the child and that whole series of passages that are classic to us. You know what Jesus is doing, and holding up the child is holding up the needy one, and it's always us, right, we're always the needy one And everyone around us is always the needy one. And Luther tells this grand story of vocation, where God's reaching down through us to involve us in the work of caring for the needy ones. And I don't know what better story to use to say here's how you can be a part of something bigger than yourself And here's how you can leave a mark on the world. It might not be one that they write about in the history books, but it has eternal significance And I think that's better, and so I would just try to invite students into that. And then, because of my background, formerly being a non-believer, i wanted them to see what it meant to be an authentic Christian who didn't know how to do this walk very well. I mean, i've learned a lot of theology, but I'm still being formed in how to follow Jesus well. And so see someone who would make mistakes, admit the mistakes, ask for forgiveness. See someone who is quote unquote an expert right, i'm the professor, but I don't have all the answers to say you know what I don't know, that's okay. I think I know how to find this out. And walk with me on this journey to figure out what you wanna know, right? So those sorts of things are just we've got a world of opportunity before us if we can see it through that lens.Speaker 2:
Yes, wow, so much there. So I would invite you know, maybe older and I'm, you know, i'm in my 40s, but the 60 year old follower of Jesus I think there was, there's always an every generation bend, that desire for more and a life of significance and to be connected to something bigger, which is the grandeur of God. I think back, you know, the World War II generation and a number of kids here in the United States of America were like I will go, like every kid and lady for that matter, was like we are all united around this mission. how much greater, rather than one country fighting or countries fighting other countries, is the grandeur of the calling of God in our various vocations, using the unique gifts that God has given to us. So I think if we can kind of tap into that, and especially we got older generations who come down to say I remember what it was like, you're gonna be okay, the Lord is good, and let me be a spiritual we don't use these terms very well, i would say in the church but a spiritual father and mother for you to be a part of that kind of village mentality, because, man, i need a lot of other adults speaking words of life and love into my teenagers right now to cast vision for their life, to let them know they're not alone. Obviously Christ in community is gonna be there for them. So go deeper in terms of the solid invitation for an older adult starting to maybe disciple a younger child that may not be necessarily their child or grandchild because I think there's a lot of opportunity for the church to grow in that effort.Speaker 3:
Thoughts there, chad? Yeah, so one thing that we try to do in my house is we have a neighbor kid over fairly regularly and she kind of just gets to see how we are, because I really don't know what her family background is. we've not gotten to know her parents very well, but they trust us at being able to have her over and she's got a number of much younger siblings and I think they're a handful over there for mom and dad, and so the older kids board and mom is preoccupied with the much more significant needs of the young ones. So she comes over, plays with my kids and we make lunch and we have a lunch prayer and we talk about things the way that we normally would, but it's this like slow drip of exposure to Jesus and the way of the Christian life. and the formation, then, that we've got to do with our kids is they're growing up and they're figuring out how to have this social relationship with one another. There's often a lot of guidance, of pointing out what's important about how to get along, and that always comes from our Christian foundation. What do you talk about older kids? I think you're talking about the fact that you're an assistant football coach for your kids football team right? And what better environment, especially for young men, to be formed by older, more mature men, wiser men, but men who sort of have this spirit of wanting to pour into young people. I remember growing up one of my best friends, his father, had committed suicide and he really had no fathers and I watched him a number of times kind of latch onto my dad in a way, and my dad did what he could to really pour into him and just be a good male presence in his life. but he didn't have enough of those And so he made a few not great choices in his younger adult, his early adult years that I think he's still paying some of the consequences for. He's found his way better, but it was really a challenge. When we look out there at our congregations or even our neighborhoods, the school classes where our kids are spending most of their time, we don't have to, i think, manufacture a lot of opportunities and think, you know, i've got to do something really unique and special to be able to pour into the lives of young people. I had it easy as a professor had a captive audience, you know, for 15 weeks at a time, a number of them in fact, and so that was easy for me. You know, now I'm trying to find ways to do it with my daughters and then some of the kids that she's hanging around with at church or some of the school friends that she'll have over on occasion, you know, but we're just sort of getting to that age where they're spending more time together outside of the school day in the classroom. It's not the greatest answer I don't feel like I'm giving you, but it's just a simple, it's ordinary, it's mundane. Right, it's where we live. There are ways that you can just sort of think about this ahead of time and think this is who I want to be when we're together.Speaker 2:
Chad. I couldn't agree more, man. It's simple. just invite a kid the Lord places on your heart. You see the kid that's by him or herself You've maybe got a connection to the mom or dad connected to your church and just ask if you could take him out to a game to coffee. If it happens to be a friend, just invite him into your world. We had a young man by the name of Nico that went on a week-long vacation with us and a number of different families And the connection, the natural connection, wasn't weird. Now I have the rapport that I have with Nico could pay dividends all the way through our high school years together. So it is very, very simple. This is the simple work that I think the Lutheran Hour Ministries is really calling people to. So tell our listeners a little bit about your work and how Lutheran Hour is just getting after it right now, in very creative and yet simple ways as it relates to discipleship.Speaker 3:
Yeah, one of my favorite things about Lutheran Hour is we have kind of always been the same organization, So most people know us. They're most familiar with the Lutheran Hour, the radio program that's on every single Sunday across the country and in parts of Canada. We're a mass media gospel proclamation organization. We've been doing that, for this is gonna be in September the 91st season of the Lutheran Hour, So we've been doing that before anybody else, any other Christian group got into media. And now we do it all over the world with social media and videos and bringing people together to show movies and pretty much anything that you can think of. That's media-based radio still, especially television, satellite TV. We're just sort of flooding these areas of the world with subtle, friendly, winsome gospel presentations. And that's one of the things that we're trying to do, especially in the United States, is really emphasize this idea of how can we Christians gain a hearing in our time And especially that's especially, I think, critical in a time when there's so much confrontation and antagonism between peoples, people, groups, the church and culture, the church and society, How can Christians be a positive witness to the kingdom other than being winsome, being authentic, being who you say, that you are living that life of humility, asking for forgiveness when you screw up, serving where you can. Right Seeing needs, meeting them just like the Good Samaritan. Our neighbors are who God brings into our life that we have the capability of serving. It's no esoteric sort of thing, It's as simple as that And these are the things we're just trying to emphasize And we're trying to talk about how households are places of spiritual formation, So that if you do it there as I was talking about just a minute ago with my daughter and the young lady who comes over, if we do it here, we might give off a very basic Christian witness That is winsomely enough received, generates enough trust in a number of Christians that look, even if we're not somehow responsible for her joining the church at some point, we've left a mark so that maybe, as God brings her into contact with other Christians over time, they might water that seed, as it were, right And eventually she becomes a part of God's family. Maybe, her family becomes a part of God's family. Who knows? Yeah, right, just being faithful.Speaker 2:
That's wonderful. That is wonderful And I'm grateful you're a part of Lutheran hour ministries and excited to see how your work has a ripple effect into the future. So one of our last questions this is a podcast of the United Leadership Collective and we're unashamedly leaders within Lutheran Church of Missouri Synod and we're also making some statements about how we believe in written and verbal form. We could be restored to health, Leaders could be more healthy, We could have not just quantity but quality of pastors and other leaders for the future of the church, which is going to look different than it has, and mostly Christian America, et cetera. So any words of hope for say, what is the Lutheran Church of Missouri Synod? Not just look but feel like in your mind. Say, a decade from now, how would you hope the character of the Lutheran Church of Missouri Synod, the culture of the Lutheran Church of Missouri Synod, would grow and become more like Christ Chad.Speaker 3:
Yeah, let me try to do that by marrying a number of threads that we've talked about in this podcast. So I think, if I were to look ahead, the church that I would like to see is one that has come to grips with the fact that We were maybe living in a world historical moment. right, you and I talked about Phyllis Tickles book.Speaker 1:
Is it the great reformation?Speaker 3:
the emerging church or emerging the great emergence, the great emergence, great emergence, there we go it's a her point at the very end of that book, and you know it's just a hypothesis is, every 500 years the church has what she calls a rummage sale, and You know. So you've got birth of Christ, the fall of Rome and, 500, 500 years later, the split between East and West, roughly 500 years after that, the reformation. And You know, now we're about 500 years out from then. Right, is something happening. I don't know, but it sure feels like things are convulsing substantially, not just in the church But in the society, especially a Western society where we live. Yes, major changes going on. Is your hypothesis right? I have no idea, but maybe, and And if we lean into the possibility that maybe we're on the verge of something, a move of God, i think it's gonna come out of this sense that This, this amount of fracture, splintering, polarization, antagonism in our society, is something that all of us see and and Survey upon servicing, were massively dissatisfied with. We don't like this about ourselves. We don't know what to do about it. I think the church can lead the way, because Jesus teaches us a number of things. Right. Every time we run into someone who believes something different than us, hold something sacred in their core their convictions. It's different than us. Jesus never let those issues prevent a relationship. I mean, we always focus on sin, right, he never let our sin prevent a relationship, but expand that that way that Paul characterizes it in Romans 5 right, while we were still his enemies, i have, i think, that we we tend automatically to be, because we're immersed in this culture, to be captive to the cultural Imagination of thinking that someone who disagrees with me or has a different set of convictions or beliefs or ideas or opinions, then me, is, is my enemy and I've got to dissociate from them. I, we can't talk to each other, we can't interact, we've got to get away from one another. And I think, if we can learn to see other people through the lens of Jesus, that he has shed his blood for all of them, whether or not they acknowledge it or not. Right, it comes from a sense. I think, that I Don't belong, i wasn't deserving, i was his enemy when he shed his blood for me. That shapes my perspective or how I engage with any. Then Right, whether that's a person or an institution or a group of people that I Don't necessarily feel like, i share their viewpoint or I love what they think about That opens a space, i think, for us as church leaders. One to say I Can lead, despite Everything that I do isn't going to be something everyone loves, that when I encounter Disagreement, when I counter pushback, it doesn't mean I'm encountering an enemy. Maybe there's something about restoring more of a reformed idea of I think Abraham Kuiper called it loyal opposition, that leaders can surround themselves with people who are going to push back on their leadership Only for the sake of helping that leader actually advance themselves for the greatest possible good that they can do. And if we can model that, then as Christians by engaging with these other people in a greater spirit of openness, because Jesus went to them and we are sent to them as well Then maybe, just maybe, we can rebuild the trust that we have lost in our time And we can shine the light of the gospel in the world in a much healthier way.Speaker 2:
Yes, This is so fun, chad. I've loved learning with you today. Just a clarion call for humility, regardless of your respective vocation or role within the church. If we all prayed for that and and saw it connected to Jesus, the humble one Who gave it all for us, who's coming again for us, man, how, how much more healthy Would and, i believe, will the church be into the future. This has been a lot of fun, chad, if people want to connect with you, how can they do so?Speaker 3:
That's the ways by email. My email is Chad Leckies, i guess at LHM Org. I'm also not like he's.Speaker 2:
I love it Where you at.Speaker 3:
I'm also on socials Facebook and Twitter. I'm more of a passive user of those things. I don't post a lot, but I'm. You can contact your private message on those channels as we go.Speaker 2:
Very cool man. This has been a lot of fun listener. Sharing is caring. Please like subscribe. We'll continue to have wonderful, hope filled Conversations about how the Lord is. He's always doing a new work connected to his never-changing Word and I do believe we are in one of those seminal, pivot, pivotal moments right now within the American Christian Church, the church across the globe, and the Lord wants us, individually and collectively, to play our role connected to the holy Habits that you talked about, to shed the love and light and life of Christ into this dark and dying world. It's a good day. Go and make it a great day. We'll be back next week on the American Reformation podcast. Thanks so much, chad.Speaker 3:
Thanks for having me to him.Speaker 2:
Yeah, but it's a good time.