For a number of years now, the term “old school” has been tossed about as a label for those who are rather traditional in their approach. Before we use the term, we need to define our meaning. If a football coach is “old school” he recognizes that the fundamentals of blocking and tackling are not optional. No matter how creative his offense or defense, the fundamentals don’t change. If a business is “old school” it may operate on strong fiscal responsibility and carefully calculated risks. That may look too cautious in some eyes, but those will be the survivors in economic downturns.
In ministry the fundamentals involve deep commitment to Christ, good character, strong prayer life, hard work, biblical approach, servanthood, people skills, genuine love and concern for others, attention to details, and countless other skills that may not appear flashy, but insure a quality ministry.
If one means by the term “old school” that someone is not creative, changes nothing from year to year except the calendar, refuses to take advantage of modern resources and technologies, then that is another matter.
Not so many years ago, I neither sent nor received e-mail, had never heard of a blog, and never used the internet at all. Once I realized that all the basic abilities God had given me for evangelism and ministry could be enhanced by the use of such things, I incorporated these things into my work. I am ready for God to show me what’s next. Some might say that I am not open to contemporary worship. This is not at all true. What is true is that I am not open to leaders of contemporary worship whose character does not rise to the standard expected of those who lead worship in any form. Some might say that I do not use power point and videos to enhance sermons. I must say that I am unconvinced that power point strengthens preaching. To me it might be more useful as a teaching tool than in proclamation. Video clips can be useful and have been used in a few ways, but I prefer live drama to video. Visual aid objects were part of my teaching and preaching beginning more than thirty-five years ago.
There is always room for more creativity in ministry, but creativity without a healthy foundation of “old school” ministry basics is like a castle in the air. It has to come crashing down eventually.