Welcome to our new Stewardship Worship Series: Project. This series is a great follow up to our REBUILD Series on Nehemiah. Just as Nehemiah built with his community, we will begin the steps to rebuild a part of our community. This series is about two important and related topics. The first topic is the position of an associate pastor.

We discovered that a few of you kind folk have quietly invested in your church. When the last associate pastor left, a few families decided to give seed money for the next associate pastor position. This account has grown to around $75,000. The time is right to hire an associate. This person would be in charge of our high school youth demographic as well as heading up our mission efforts. This series will invite you all to be as generous as those few families have been in your giving to sustain this role and the work of our church.

The second topic is the colors of communication and how we can more effectively understand and work together with our community. The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument details 4 styles of communication. All of which are important, yet very few of us can do all four at once.

In preparing for this worship series, the Stewardship team and I had a good time looking through all the Biblical stories of construction. And there are a lot of them! Yet the biggest construction project is the Tower of Babel.

It’s a short and rather confounding story. Just 9 verses. Chapter 10 details the descendants of Noah’s family and where they settled. 10 Generations after Noah and everyone still spoke the same language. There’s one group of people that settled in a plain in Shinar. Shinar is an area in Southern Babylonia that is mentioned 8 times in the Hebrew Bible.[1]

The people there decided to build a city with a tower that will reach into the heavens. God sees this and decides to confuse the language and scatter the people. The story has always felt arbitrary to me. What is the moral? That God despises harmony?

Let’s make note of a few things. First, anything associated with Babylon is bad. The Hebrew work Babylon means “confusion.”[2] It’s where we get the word to babble, to speak foolish, excited, or confusing talk. Babylon is also associated with excess, exploitation, and oppression and exile. The tower wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

Louis Ginzberg tells this midrash… Midrash if you’ll remember is a genre of storytelling that rabbis tell to explain various passages. These stories attempt to use a holy imagination to deepen our understanding of the bible. Louis Ginzberg tells this story to help us understand what could have been happening on the   Tower of Babel. “Come, let us build us a city and a tower.” Many, many years were spent building the tower. It reached so great a height that it took a year to get to the top. A brick was, therefore, more precious in the sight of the builders than a human being. If a man fell down and met his death, none took notice of it; but if a brick dropped, they wept, because it would take a year to replace it. So intent were they upon accomplishing their purpose that they would not permit a woman to interrupt her work of brick-making when the hour of birth came upon her. Molding bricks, she gave birth to her child, and tying it round her body in a sheet, she went on molding bricks.[3]

There’s the dehumanization of the tower. People would not celebrate births. They would not mourn deaths. They would only work. They would only mourn bricks dropped. This is not the vision God has for us. We’ve seen what happens to the human soul when folks are forced to conform: slavery, oppression, suffering, fascism, genocide, war. Scary stuff.

The Tower of Babel was one project that people became so focused on, they lost their humanity. There was no appreciation of God’s stunning gift of existence. People wouldn’t notice the spectacular sunrises and sunsets on the tower; only the brown bricks. People wouldn’t notice the amazing variety of trees, they would only note them in a ledger as commodities to build the tower. Food had no flair or flavor. It was reduced to a flavorless gruel that only had nutritional content for the workers.

God didn’t create one type of anything. Creation is awash in a stunning array of diversity. All different types of trees. A planet teaming with life that we’ve tried to catalog, but we keep discovering new species! Even where we thought there would be no life: deep underwater volcanoes in the highly pressurized dark depths of the ocean. Everywhere we turn, there are layers upon layers of form and style of life.

Sometimes this diversity is intimidating. Especially in our dealings with our neighbor. Our differences go deeper than just “agree to disagree.” Some folks strike us as foreign. We find we that we don’t speak the same moral language. We wonder how we can live peaceably with one another and maybe, sometimes… we are tempted to build our own Tower of Babel. A place where everyone speaks our same language, and we don’t have to explain ourselves to anyone.

This is dangerous. For a variety of reasons. It can lead to dehumanization. What we need in this time is to learn how to talk intelligibly and peacefully with our neighbors. To search for the unity within our diversity. What we need is an imagination.

Imagination lives in the Yellow section of the Herrmann Brain Dominance. I think this is a really interesting concept. The idea is that there are 4 colors that represent ways of thinking and communicating. Today we’ll talk about yellow and we’ll go through each color in the next few weeks. The hope is that you’ll see your color explained and how you’ve been gifted by God in your thinking and speaking. Also the hope is that you’ll see your neighbor, especially the one you have a hard time communicating with. This will hopefully make us better communicators, a closer community, and help us get better working together as the church.

Today we’ll focus on the Yellow Communicators. In the Herrmann Brain Dominance, these people think in concepts and ideals. They see the big picture.

My daughter often thinks like this. I’ve recounted the story before where Jeff and I were talking church last year, and Eve walked in after school. She asked what we’re talking about and we said “Church” and she replied, “Church is boring.”

“Well, make it less boring.”

She didn’t say anything, opened up her computer and started typing. I thought that this was the end of the conversation. It wasn’t. Soon she turned her computer around and showed me 50 ideas on the screen.

One of those ideas was a waterslide that came down from the Bell Tower. Imagine, a water slide that wrapped itself around the bell tower twice and ended in a big water tank by the historical marker. This would make baptisms really exciting!

It’s an idea. And as I was about to tell Eve how a waterslide wouldn’t work, she had 10 more ideas, some of which we’re working on now

Yellow communicating folks are all about the big picture. They are visionary and conceptual. They are about problem solving vs. implementation. What this means is that they will continue to give you solutions to problems without regard to things like budget, construction, or practical considerations.

Steve Jobs was a Yellow Communicator. He pushed his team to develop the iPhone. Folks kept asking him to include a stylus, a pen to interact with the phone. Steve kept saying no. It would be easier to have a stylus, there was technology for that. Steve pushed them and asked, “If we give them a stylus, they can lose a stylus, but they already have 5 on their hands.” The team had to invent the glass that interacted with our fingers. That’s what a yellow communicator can do.

You might be a yellow communicator. If you think in pictures or love Pinterest. If you get frustrated with repetition, a slow pace, playing things safe. If you get nervous when things feel too rigid or detailed or narrow in focus. You can’t stand resistance to trying something new. You look for impassioned styles and exciting topics.

Yellow Communicators can’t stand the Tower of Babel. Hell for a yellow communicator would just be talking about brick after boring brick. Yellow people would want to customize their brick. Put art on the walls! They want to cook food that is not only nutritious but presented in a stylized way. Yellow communicators style and color our world. They swim in a diversity of ideas and concepts versus just one. They inherently resist one thing dominating their mind. Possibilities are the key focus here.

Yellow communicators yearn for new horizons. One commentary speaks about how the Tower of Babel was a refusal of God’s command to “fill the earth” and enjoy God’s creation. The tower symbolizes all empire building, corruption, arrogance, desiring fame, and turning away from the enjoyment of life.[4]

We need idea people to help us look at problems in new ways. Looking at our community, I’m seeing how Nicole and Stacie are doing a great job. We have a ton of kids, but most are younger. So the older high schoolers need some help too. And various sources tell me that mission is the best way to involve our high schoolers and help them find and channel their passion.

Some can scoff and say, “Haven’t we tried this before in the past?” Yellow Communicators would say, “No! Today is a new day! This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

They would tell the story of one youth pastor who did a radical new thing. His church was facing the problems of a changing neighborhood and low attendance of over-scheduled teens. Bible studies weren’t going to compete with travel sports. Furthermore, if the trend continued, then he’d be out of a job as the church’s budget was shrinking. A new approach was needed.

He looked at the needs of his neighborhood: an aging, inner city area where folks couldn’t keep up with their lawns. People on a fixed income were having to pay city fines that they couldn’t afford. The youth pastor looked at his congregation: largely business folks and small business owners. And then he thought of what his teens might need: a way to serve and some gas money for their cars. And this youth pastor came up with MowTown. It’s a play on words. Mow like M-O-W. Mowing lawns.[5]

For a few dollars a week paid by the folks in the neighborhood, the church youth would mow the lawns around town. City fines would go down and neighborhood folks could enjoy their properties. The church youth would be mentored by church members on how to run a business, manage money, and deal with customers. This was an immediate success! So much so that area businesses said that anyone from MowTown will have a job at their shops without needing to apply. That’s how much the community supports the church mission.

Imagine something like that coming here. What does Medina need? What do our youth need? How can we partner for the thriving of our church, our community and our world?

Well… I have a few ideas about that… And a lot of them… In fact there’s a whole sheet that Eve created but we’ll get to those. Sometimes an idea can just be an idea. Next week we’ll talk about how to make ideas a reality. I hope you’ll join us and I hope this has been salt and light to you, my friends. Thanks be to God. Amen!

Works Cited

[1][1] Eerdmans’s Dictionary of the Bible “Shinar” Page 1213.

[2][2] The Torah: A modern commentary, Page 80. The following sentences are my summation of this source as well.

[3][3] From My Jewish Learning, found here:

[4][4] The Torah: A modern commentary. Page 84.


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