Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is the Current 'Church' Model Not Sustainable?

Hello everyone,

Today I am at a church planting conference in Quebec. As I am listening to the various speakers, I am also writing this entry and I would like everyone from our church to read what I am about to write.

I have been banging on this ‘drum’ for many years now and I realize that my convictions and ideas are the working of the Spirit of God in me. People all over the world are raising the same alarms but speaking much more articulately. I am hearing over and over the message that the way we have done ‘church’ is not the way we can continue to do church, because for the most part, it is not working. I am amazed at how passionately people are communicating their call to reformation of the institutional church model. The 1st guest speaker, Allan Hirsch (writer of the book “The forgotten ways” (, quoted Einstein a bunch of times with this particular quote, I had not heard before. “The kind of thinking that will solve the world's problems will be of a different order to the kind of thinking that created those problems in the first place.” In other words, the model of how we do church is not working and, generally, is in decline in every evangelical denomination in Canada. We need to look at the model and exchange it for something that is working or has worked.

LifePoint is a rarity in churches in Canada, it is growing and is 'risk taking' in its approach to its future. I want you to know that God has been challenging me a lot in my personal leadership goals for the next several years. I was asked by a friend last night at dinner at what my plans were for succession in leadership at LifePoint. I have been thinking about this for a while now and I do not have an answer. We need to have one. Now, if you put that last sentence in context of the previous verses, I am suggested that we should think differently at what succession should look like. I know that in our church model, it has been that the pastor is the linchpin to our ministry. We hire the right guy to lead us and he (or she) is the hub of the whole thing. Is it reasonable to continue to think this way?

Yes, you need to have a leader, because proper leadership is important. Yet, LifePoint needs to mature to a new understanding of how churches will succeed in the future. Am I transferring this new understanding to you, its people? Are you being trained to know some of the key concepts of future successful ministry? I am not sure the answer that is yes.

What is our purpose as a church? What are it's most important actions? Is “pastoral care”, or have our personal needs met by the main leader, the driving factor of our church? Or can we look beyond ourselves and our lack of training, lack of healing or whatever else can be seen as a road block to stepping out, to a new model of doing church?

Folks, are we ready to leave our understanding of how the church is to operate? By this I mean that we leave “The kind of thinking that will solve the world's problems” for” a different order to the kind of thinking that created those problems in the first place”? As Allan Hursch said this morning, more of the same is not going to get the job done”. I agree completely.

At the Billy Graham conference, the high call that they repeated over and over is that people need to be presented the gospel, and the church MUST train and release our people to do this. The speaker this morning, said that the church was SENT out not told to BRING in. I also agree completely.

But with this statement, that brings to me to many more questions. I have badly underestimated the need and energy that discipleship, bringing people into maturity in Christ, brings. It is great to see people saved and baptized but are they still serving God after 5 years? This is also of GREAT concern to me. I feel that is where I have failed as a leader at LifePoint. I feel that the style of ministry that LifePoint has is often focused on the lost coming to Christ. In this, have people not been challenged to grow up into Christ? Are the calls to holiness and total Lordship of Christ also the hallmarks of LPC? I am not sure I would say yes to this. Would you?

I am simply not able to communicate all this on a Sunday. So I am not sure what to do with this question. I would like to have a Vision day where we the church family come together to discuss these ideas and be trained to discover the a new church model. I am not sure who would make the time to come. Would you consider this a priority? Are we getting complacent in our “success”? Yet, if we do not do this, what is going to be the future of this church?

Listen, we can not bring massive change to the church instruction in Canada, but WE CAN bring massive change to how WE are doing church. I never have been more aware of how LifePoint is poised to step out into uncharted waters in our denomination and in our region. I want to, even as my ministry changes. Please do not be concerned about the expression of my ministry changing. I want to experience these changes at LifePoint, but I feel the Lord calling to me to uncharted waters, and it excites and terrifies me.

What does this all mean? I am not sure, to be frank. But I feel the need to step out and I hope you would step out with me. LifePoint has the most wonderful opportunity, especially as we finish the new building, to redefine how we do church. The last speaker said that our model for church is Building + programs + pastor = church. HE is right, that is exactly how we feel in general. Yet all are important, but all are not a biblical definition of what church is.

SO what are your thoughts?

Much to pray about.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Updated pictures of the new building as of today

We are almost done Stage 1plus. The siding is now done on the new side. We will finish the rest of the building in the spring. The eavestroughs are going up as I write.

The inside is being painted this week! Yahoo! Lights are beginning to be connected.

Much more to get finished, yet it is coming.