Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I spoke this weekend at the Mason Vineyard Community Church for their relaunch weekend in their new digs.

The church was planted by a great guy about eight or nine years or so ago. Todd Pierce started the church after being turned on to a different way of doing church. He was pastoring a traditional church in the 1990’s that was bogged down in bureaucracy and a “this-is-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it” philosophy. And frankly, no outward focus to speak of. If I remember correctly, he once told me he spent a year trying to talk the elder board into getting a projector to do simple PowerPoint-type stuff. After a year, they rented one, tried it out one weekend, and then said, “Okay, we did it. Now send it back.”

Eventually he left and started attending VCC with a few other folks as well. They lit up, to put it mildly. I remember doing a free car wash with his entourage one Saturday when one of his guys said, “I’ve gone to the same church since I was a kid where my dad and granddaddy were pillars. Today at this car wash I’ve talked to more people about Jesus than I have my whole life.” They got hooked on serving.

Not long after, Todd and several folks launched a new church in Mason. But seasons come and go. After a number of years and some life-stage changes, I think Todd simply felt tired and a little “vision”-impaired. He graciously turned the church over to his friends and advisors, offered to stay as long as needed, but clearly wanted to hand the leadership off to someone else. I can’t tell you how wise, how selfless and how rare that is. Many of us hang on to something way beyond our level of energy, our sense of entitlement and perceived need for self-esteem. And often, the only way for us to truly live is by dying to something. When it’s time for me to lay my work down, especially for the sake of future healthy growth, I hope I wisely recognize the time—the kairos—and do it as gracefully as Todd.

Hence, as their “sending church”, we got involved in the process along with MVCC’s volunteer leaders and began to help them chart out some different courses. Along the way, one of our staff pastors who was looking forward to churchplanting in the future, became the obvious choice to lead the church forward. Charlie Matthews is a more than competent leader and hungry to get in the game. Full of energy, ideas and good experience in several different contexts and capacities, Charlie was the man for the gig. I couldn’t have been more excited for Charlie…and MVCC.

Anyway, this past weekend was their official new launch…and Charlie was sick as a dog, as my mom says in Kentucky. Double-pneumonia. The poor guy was super bummed. He’ll be back next week and ready to go, I’m sure. And it will be great for Mason. I think it’s their time now, their kairos.

As I understand it, in the New Testament the Greeks used several different words for what we translate as “time”. One of them was kronos; that’s the unrelenting march of clock-time and calendar-time. It’s how history unfolds. Another Greek word for time is kairos. Kairos means a moment of opportunity. Mark Buchanan describes it like this: with kronos we ask, “What time is it?” but with kairos we ask, “What is this time for?” When the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek, they used the word kairos for Solomon’s words, “To everything there is a season…a time to plant, a time to reap…a time to laugh, a time to cry…”

Perhaps wisdom is the ability to understand our kairos.

I’m thrilled with what I’m doing now. All the frustrations and strokes that come with pastoring are neither here nor there for me; it’s being in the moment, the flow, of my appointed time. Understanding our kairos is key to understanding this mysterious thing we label “our calling”, our vocation. I’m beginning to believe that discerning kairos may be more important than identifying our vocation…or at least they’re certainly joined at the hip.

How are you determining your kairos? Or has kronos crowded out the ability to pay attention to that? Do you have a sense of what this “time in your life” is for? Is it being used wisely? And of course all those questions can best be answered with a surrendered-heart attitude. As we develop an outlook of laying our lives down for the Kingdom, kairos becomes a little simpler to discern. And somehow the degree of my surrendering has always been an easier thing to identify in the deepest part of my heart, sometimes to my joy and sometimes to my disappointment with myself.

At least that’s been my experience over thirty-five years of following Jesus.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (NKJV)



  1. The Catholic high school at which I taught had a retreat called Kairos. It was student-lead and very powerful. The focus of the 3-4 day retreat was to take your mind off the clock and put it on God.

    It's an important thing to think about day in and day out. Our time is all relative; God's time is all-important.

  2. thanks so much for this post, dave. great food for thought in this particular season...