Today I am at a church planting conference in
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” (http://www.theforgottenways.org/blog), 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
LifePoint is a rarity in churches in
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
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.