I was intrigued by something I read in Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon The pastor becomes nothing more than the court chaplain, presiding over ceremonies of the culture, a pleasing fixture for rites of passage like weddings and funerals, yet rites in which the pastor’s presence becomes more and more absurd…
Many people of good will strive wholeheartedly for peace, mutual understanding, human encounter, world unity, and living harmony. Yet human vulnerability in face of the divisiveness that followed the Fall can never be totally overcome by excellent intentions, marvelous slogans, peace marches and conferences, disarmaments, sensitivity training courses and group dynamics alone. All of these…
…every moment of our life has purpose…every action of ours, no matter how dull or routine or trivial it may seem in itslf, has a dignity and a worth beyond human understanding…yet what a terible responsibility is here. For it means that no moment can be wasted, no opportunity missed, since each has a purpose…
Missional Church – LifeWiki Ah….Now this is more like it. A pretty good start on the definition of a missional church. Now…how does one transform from a from a traditional 100+ denominational church into a missional church?
I mentioned in my last post (the one I did from my Palm Pilot) that I have been quite busy. Too busy in many respects. The summer brings with it camps to lead, weddings to perform, funerals to lead, kids to be played with, family to vacation, VBSs to organize and a host of other responsibilities. Since no one is telling, or asking, me to blog, my blog doesn’t get very high priority. I’ve even had difficulty keeping up with the blogs I read!
Well, in respect of full disclosure, I probably have had some time I could post to this blog, but I’ve been spending time with my Father’s Day present…which was the new NewsRadio DVD. I loved the show, now I can watch the first and second seasons on DVD.
I’ve also been doing reflection and thinking about church and all. It is beginning to be a pain to be quite honest. After all, I’m part of a denomination who is trying to survive. Numbers are very important to us. So, after 6 1/2 years of being out of pastoral ministry I’ve been placed in a church that is declining. Over the past 2 years we have had over 20 people from our congregation either move to other cities or die. That is over 15% of our congregation that isn’t here any more. To make it worse, a few of these folks were very generous in their giving. So, the issue I’m facing is a declining congregation with shrinking resources.
It could be worse though. Over the past 2 years we have also seen an increase in giving, but it isn’t enough to keep up with the increase in costs.
Of course I would love to see the church grow. But, here, I’m seeing what happens when an organization is looking toward survival issues. The questions surround, how can we make our church grow. Now, I’m all for growth, but deep within I wonder if that is the goal we should be working toward. I’m not convinced that Jesus’ goal was for the church to grow. I believe, rather, His goal had to do with the Kingdom of God. Yes, I know about the great commission. Yet, getting people into a church and through some type of ‘program’ isn’t what I would consider discipleship.
The first disciples were literally world changers. They were not content to sit in a church, join in a few programs, and go home and watch DVDs of NewsRadio. What I yearn for is the same Spirit that empowered those first disciples. What I yearn for is a church whose “motto” isn’t “Come Grow With Us” but rather “Come Help Us Change the World.” I’m hoping and praying that in the midst of us trying to survive (the church I serve and also the denomination I’m in) we will begin looking not at the numbers, but at the purpose for which God has called us into existence. For if we are not about our purpose, what is the point of existence?