A Call to Be Mediocre?

“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.” – Pope Francis

This quote from Pope Francis has been making its way around the global block. In fact, many of Pope Francis’s statements have caused quite a stir in the electronic world of Twitter, Facebook, and the blog. I’ll be honest, I’m intrigued by the new pope. He seems to be willing to challenge the church in some unexpected and surprising ways.

The word that struck me in this particular quote was “mediocre”. Is that what we think the call of the universal church is today? Or maybe more importantly, is this the reflection that the world sees of the church today? I don’t know about all of the time, but one can’t help think that from time to time our answer is a half-hearted, “Yep, we’re mediocre. Yea for us…sigh” I believe the world sees this kind of reflection from the universal church  more often than we will admit.

Being a follower of Jesus is a daily call to be more than small groups that are mediocre, isn’t it?

Maybe the church just needs more cheerleaders like Lake Wobegon has in the great Garrison Keillor. Keillor concludes every reflection about this quaint fictional Minnesota town by saying, “Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

The church isn’t called to be a small collections of mediocre groups whose mission is to protect our turf from the rest of the world behind closed door meetings. As followers of the risen savior Jesus Christ, I hope that we are called to be more than that, don’t you? Thanks Pope Francis for challenging me to think and pray about that a little lately.

Thoughts? Anyone?


Pastor Craig


About Bishop Craig Schweitzer

The Rev. Craig Schweitzer, of Bismarck, was elected as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod on July 17, 2020, in the first-ever digital Synod Assembly. A historic event, Schweitzer is the first bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be elected in an online assembly. Bishop Craig Schweitzer began serving the Western North Dakota Synod-ELCA on September 1, 2020. He has always seen himself as an easy-going person who seeks to daily discover anew how God is present in his life and the world in which he lives and serves. Prior to service in the Office of Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod, Bishop Craig served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND as Music and Worship Minister (lay staff from 2002-2010), Associate Pastor (2010-2014), and Senior Pastor (2014-2020). Beyond his service in the church, he has an eclectic background that is a diverse collection of musical, educational, and business experiences ranging from live concert production and promotion to recording studios and live performance to music education. Throughout all of his professional and personal experiences, the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome have been a guiding light that has kept him grounded in whatever work God was calling him into – “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) Bishop Craig is a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership. He also holds a certificate degree in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament on September 16, 2010. Outside of his life as Bishop, Bishop Craig enjoys reading, all music, a little golf, a cold beverage with friends, and intentional times of quiet. And, of course, spending time with his wife Wendy and their adult twin daughters Ilia and Taegan. View all posts by Bishop Craig Schweitzer

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