Saturday, September 5, 2009

Creating a New Church - Good Enough for the Future

Call For Change

In light of reading a blog post by a Southern Baptist Church Pastor on the fact that SBC organizations needed to
"rise up a new breed of leaders who can truly cooperate, examine, dissect, implement and strategize to create a new convention of churches that say the past had its place but it is not good enough for the future." I became alert to how familiar this sounded to the current events of our American Country today.

He went further to say "
A changing world deals ruthlessly with ministry and organizations that don’t embrace change, and people are coming to respect that fact more every day. The Cooperative Program and the Southern Baptist paradigms of organizations are broke. We can fix it, change it, or simply sit back and continue the tired rhetoric of “we just need to keep doing what we have been doing…just work harder.”

My Personal Response:
While I have been a member of a SBC church for over 10 years, I only have allegiance to God. He can organize His children together under solid Biblical Teachings to further His kingdom work. What concerns me the greatest is not the desire to change, but a common view held by society today that we need to re-construct new frameworks, instead of returning to the foundations that are tried and truly tested over centuries. God's church is not new, His ways are not new, He never changes.

While science has learned to build upon previous scientist experimentation, especially theories repeatedly showing to be correct time and time again, and even becoming laws. The church and society in whole thinks the ways of a previous generation are not applicable or able to move forward to reach newer generations, but must be taken down and discarded instead of being remembered, dusted off and returned to.

Just as we loose our course as Americans, as we try to make the Constitution living, changing for times and current thinking. It seems the church, sees a reason to move on by disassembling the past framework for new ideas, which are never really new because "there is nothing new under the sun".

In the church, We The People (congregation-led), has worked well for the SBC as for our American Constitution. Representative leadership voted in by the freewill of the people, less central (Federal/CEO-type) control over local (State/Member-led) church assemblies and membership. As I see church constitutions in SBC tumble over, often beneath the surface of church member's awareness or knowledge, to become a Leader/ Senior Pastor control (as a despotism of government) removing the rights of the people (the congregation), and places all rights/control in the hands of one or a few leaders.

While this may seem prudent in a season when the one or few leader are of highest character and spirit-led, it is not far-thinking to a time when one less scrupulous (even a wolf in sheep's clothing) may take the helm of leadership and destroy congregations. It is dangerous to God's Church and to Government to put all power in the hands of few instead of broadly trusting God's ability in and through all people.

I don't have a personal benefit from seeing society honor forefather's wisdom and discipleship of thousands of years of believers, but I have a responsibility to God to be alert in the times that I am alive because one may never know when for such a time as this He formed me in my mother's womb, and allowed me the experiences of my life, to stand up and speak a plain and simple call - "It about God, and nothing else"....not a congregation, denomination, Nation, person, method, program, ministry, tradition,etc. Clearly Solomon in all his wisdom bestowed on him by God found "all is vain" and "fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil."

Having such wisdom from God, need we look for today's ways or should we not listen to the wisdom of Solomon and return only to God's ways?

A Picture Story

Picture this, a first century church leader is preaching in the home of a believer teaching about Christ come, Christ died, Christ resurrected way into the night. As the Spirit-led, multitudes gather to hear and learn. As he spoke about repentance and the call to respond, many felt touched, some even had tears well up in their eyes, others looked convicted. In the corner was a magician to keep the children entertained, the musicians played loudly in the street to give the young people a place to hangout, and a drama skit alternated with an artist on the far left side to keep the seekers plugged in and not overwhelmed by the weight of the Preacher's message.

Still a man fell asleep, and dropped out of the second-story window to the ground, because Preacher was not engaging enough to keep him alert. The church leader vowed to never again preach so long into the night, for the health of those listening. He was to not be led by faith in what he could not see for it was obvious the truth is what he could see with his naked eye, and plain to everyone else. Times were changing, the people drawn to fellowship needed more than God's simple message.

They need laughter, excitement and practical how-to life lessons on saving money at the market, how to speak in foreign languages, and wholesome recreation. From this day forward he taught all the leadership to gauge the mood of the people to discern what the church needed to offer to those coming weekly and to draw out those who lack interest in knowing God. And the local called-out gatherings of believers swelled in numbers too big to fit in the home they had once used because every wanted to spend time with their friends, to uplift/ encourage one another to good neighborly deeds, and relax to a reasonably-priced fellowship meal before a weekly nighttime activities since they had been working hard all day in the fields.

It was evident to all this formula was working since so many filled the halls and yard of the homes being used. New larger building would need to be erected to allow newcomers a place to sit and tie up their camel, so everyone brought their offerings to the Preacher and his growing staff along with their tithe to ensure everyone would feel welcomed, comfortable and desire to come again.

News spread quickly of the success of the First Century Leader. People traveled from afar to learn his method, longing to repeat his outcome in their hometown and become the largest, fastest growing local church. Years later, huge building were in many towns, often a few on a single street and the people were committed to their congregation enjoying the positive influence on their life and their children's.

Change and hope were continually in the air, and all the best leaders kept their eyes peeled for new and creative ways to communicate .... hmmmm hmmm, oh... leaders were doing all kinds of programs, small groups, children activities to communicate .... oh...., love, acceptance and tolerance to all to never offend the crowd and keep up the growth, and of course, to keep their high paying job.

Jesus's Leadership

The greatest leader ever known to mankind was not by worldly standards a great leader. He was simply a man called Jesus of Nazareth. He build no buildings, created no clubs or organizations, and delivered no campaign drumming up attendence prior to his plan to enter a village or town to preach.

He was not about change, embracing the new trends of his day to keep up with the times. He was only about one change in life, offering each of us an opportunity to trade our sinful wrecked life for His new righteous life. He was about helping people return to a relationship with God that had long been severed by sinful choices by do what seemed right in people’s own eyes instead of God's.

He never desired a larger team. He liked working in small groups developing personal life-on-life relationships. He never drafted a long-term mission plan. He knew God's plan would be written in the Scriptures, and sufficient for every life from His first coming to His second coming. He never listened to others opinions and views before he spoke. He was a leader following only the voice of one other, His Father-God. He set forth not policies, committees, programs or goals. He was spirit-lead, and when He died and left His followers and closest companions, He trusted each to be personally Spirit-lead doing the will of His Father-God.

Does the church of today need to embrace change and new structures and rising leaders? What do you think? Are today's leader's like Jesus' leadership? Tell me what you think.

2 comments:

  1. ""God's church is not new, His ways are not new, He never changes.""

    I too have been a SBC member for 14 years. I seek diligently not to conform to the idea that we must "market" God.

    God does not need to be packaged in shiney new wrapers, we need only teach the truth of His Word and those in whom He has opened their hears and minds, well seek to know more of Him.

    Enjoyed the blog!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have some information that you might want to read. The similarities you are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg. If you're interested let me know. I just didn't want to post it in your comment section.

    ReplyDelete

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