I’m not sleeping thinking about computers, but I can relate over-all! How about you?
I was reading Emerging Worship the other day and one of the paradigms that Dan Kimball was presenting is how the church is being built. The traditional church is being built by focusing on weekend services as its foundation. On top of the foundation is the staff and ministry team to support the weekend service, then additional ministries, values- philosophy-cultural theology, and finally the mission. Dan goes on to say this is why we have so many consumers within our church today. Believers are focused more on the Sunday service than the mission of who the church is and who the church should be.
To change the mentality of the church and begin being the church that we see in Acts we must shift our focus to the mission that Christ has called the church to fulfill. That is “go into all the world and make disciples of all men.” (Matthew 28:19) The foundation of the church needs to be the mission and not the Sunday service. If you have read any of my leadership concepts you will know we lead this way by putting a high focus on what is valuable and in this case it is the mission. That means 80% of our week’s focus will be directed to reach the mission and not the Sunday service. The emerging paradigm’s foundation is the mission – making disciples, and built on this the mission is the cultural philosophy – theology – values, Leadership support team, building community, and last is the weekend gatherings. Many read this and agree, but the process in how we make disciples is what I want to focus on.
The disciple making process is a high value, but I don’t believe it is a person in a classroom setting or even in a small group setting. It could be, but my idea of the Biblical discipleship training is doing ministry together. (Discipleship in Motion) It is a community of believers coming together and individually presenting the gospel, being active in the community by having a voice in our community. It is believers learning who they are – their gifting as being part of the body of Christ and operating according to God’s design – the way God has designed each of us. We see in the gospels that Jesus and even John’s disciples did ministry as they were instructed by Biblical concepts of Jesus’ teachings. It was discipleship in motion, not in an institutionalized structure. Yes, we all need good teaching, but disciples act out his /her beliefs through a relationship with Jesus Christ. They don’t consume church services – looking for ministries that suit them and meet all of their family needs. Instead, they live out their faith as is directed by Christ. “To GO and MAKE disciples” – this is a motion (act) not a lecture!
This leads us to begin thinking how are we as leaders using our time in our ministries? Are we focusing most of our time on Sunday services or making disciples? I’m not saying don’t have a great Sunday worship gathering, but we will never be the church until we begin acting like the church.
I was reading in Matthew 13:15 today and it is interesting to me that each person grew to deafness and then they closed their eyes! (I think this is a clear picture of what is happening within many ministries today.)
How many of us are growing deaf or have closed our eyes to what God is trying to do in our life or through our life? Some of us are in this condition due to our hearts being dulled by traditional opposition and we have just quite listening to what God has told us because we are tired of fighting against traditional ways of trying to reach the modern culture.
I believe that if we are going to be affective ministers of the gospel, we must “STOP” and listen to what God has been trying to say to us and be obedient to what He has said to us. This means that we must live out our faith- reach those that you have been called to, we cannot continue to do ministry within the same framework that many of us have been raised in.
I still see multiple cultures within our society; we have the Jews- traditional church attendee in America and the Gentile- those who are the post-modern/ post-churched. Many traditionalists are doing a great job reaching the traditional believer, but some are blind and deaf to the voice of God because they are trying to reach a Gentile people within the Jewish structure….it doesn’t work!
As we look into scripture we see that Paul was reaching the Jews and Peter was reaching the Gentile people. It would have been a nightmare if they worked together trying to reach their target people within the opposing structures of their target people group. Why should we think that it is any different for us as we are trying to reach our people groups? The struggle between the traditional and the Emerging is in my opinion the individuals trying to reach opposing people groups within the structure of the traditional or vice-versa. It will never work!
So this all leads me to ask who have you been called to? Reach the people that God has called you to, but do it because God has spoken to you and He has called you to. He hasn’t called you to do ministry within any structure, but to do ministry within the structure that best reaches the people God has called you to! Who are you called to reach?
You may have notice the mynakedpastor.com tag on my blog. I just heard about Troy Gramling this morning. Troy will be on a 24-hour webcam for five weeks starting 9/9. The thought that came to me as I read about Troy was, “what would people see in my life if I had a webcam connected to me for 24 hours?” Would my life look any different than our culture? Would I display Godly characteristics that would encourage and help others to live out their faith?
I am all for reaching the post-modern / post church, BUT – yes but, I believe their is a fine line between reaching people with the gospel message and blending in with the culture so much that we no longer carry the presence and the power of God for daily living out our life as we see in 2 Peter 1. I would hope that people would see that being a believer is fun, that I take my relationship with God seriously, that I honor and interact with my family in a way that builds them up in Christ. I know for me, each morning after I spend time in scripture and prayer I go to my wife’s computer and I see digital scripture note on her desk top…that is so encouraging to read what God is doing in her life. So I would hope that my life would give honor to God (true worship) and bring encouragement to the body of Christ. What would people say about your life?
I found this picture at bob.blog and thought it was too great! I love how some of our older generation is using this time in their life as a platform to reach our younger generation. Many of us remember the little old lady that thought our Sunday School class and made a huge impact in our lives or maybe in the lives of some of our friends, but how do the older generation fit into today’s Emerging church?
I was recently in a local coffee house and was online blogging. As I was blogging, I watched as some senior citizens engaged in conversation with some young people who where probably in their 20’s. One of the guys who was at least in his 60’s approached me in a conversation. What a great opportunity for our older men and women of the today to embrace the many opportunities and share what God is doing in their life and reach out to our post-modern culture.
I believe this is the key, to embrace many the opportunities that are available in today’s culture and begin to step out of our comfort zones and engage in conversation. You never know how a kind word or showing interest in someone’s life could be the doorway that God uses to bring salvation to someone who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Christ.
This principle isn’t just for our seniors, but each of us must begin taking advantage of our culture’s lifestyle and go to the coffee shops, malls, community events, even getting involved in your local community recreation center and engage in conversation. Maybe, as we begin using what God has already given us, He will open a door for you reach someone who would never enter a church on a Sunday.
I am in a contemplative mood this morning and I wrote some thoughts down that I’ve been thinking through in a poetic form.
Today I awake, but what motivation has overtaken me?
I go to the office, but the objective is another task, not the life that needs to be shown, the love of Christ. We run to be part of multiple church activities not thinking through or even praying who our lives could impact. Do we think through what an authentic conversation could really mean to someone who is desperate to find someone who cares?
If someone spoke to us, would we be able to tell the difference between the hurting and those hiding in the church? If we spoke to these people, would they listen to us? If we gave of ourselves, would the church see that our life is authentically living a life for Christ?
I watch the clock tick week after week, people pour into the church building to hear another song and leave, but what do they leave with? More guilt of how they aren’t living perfect enough, more shame of there mistake ridden past! When does it stop? When do we give hopeless people hope instead of ridicule, burned out workers the presence of God instead of more work that leads to no end…When do we lay down everything and approach a Holy God and let Him change us, strengthen us, and inspire us.
Our Post-Christian has seen the church, but who has personally engaged in a conversation and has listened to his hurt? His lack of understanding that God is not another church service, but someone who loves and personally desires to give them a life makeover – a new life and all the accessories needed to live this new life daily. What is your motivation? Is it Christ or the church?
I’m not sure if you have seen the pomovational posters for the Emerging, but as I looked through the posters you can see the hurt, anger and frustration with life and yes even the church through the imagery and ideas communicated. It is heart wrenching to see some of the images, but much is revealed as you look at the images and ideas that are being communicated. I think we need to exercise caution when thinking through postmodern thoughts and our response to those thoughts. I recently was given a comment that shared the Pomo Philosophy and one part of the Pomo Philosophy is the denial of truth. Much of the communication that our culture has heard has been traditionalism as a church which many times bar out those seeking to figure out the church and the whole God thing.
In my opinion, it would be best for the church to rise up and show unconditional, authentic kindness and patience – love with this generation. As we unite together, I believe the Traditional Church along with the Emerging Church will have a greater impact on this generation. We must create safe environments for this generation to learn and understand who they are in regards to their relationship with God. This does not mean that we water down scriptural truth, but it does mean we as the church need to create environments where individuals can ask questions and share their thoughts without being beaten up verbally or treated different for not agreeing with us. The battle is not a battle of words of who is right or wrong; it is rather the body of Christ revealing the love of Christ.
I’m not sure if you have seen that Emerging Grace posters which are hopefully portraying what the church is trying to be. As we learn more and more of the Postmodern may we look not at the difference, but at the person who has probably never seen authentic love from the church.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” – John 15:12-14
I heard a story this week at camp by Doug Witherup about Hurricane Mitch that went through Honduras back in 1998. There was a body of water and bridge in place and after the hurricane went through the river was moved and the bridge stood alone with no body of water underneath the bridge. The bridge was a great structure, but the structure that was in place was no longer needed because the water was shifted. The story was paralleled to when our culture has shifted (The waters have moved.) we must build a new bridge to reach the culture, but the question was posed: “How do we build this new bridge to the changing culture.”
The first step always is and will be, we must study who you are trying to reach and learn their language. How does the postmodern communicate? One of the things that we already know is that the postmodern generation is highly visual and very intellectual in thinking. They desire to understand truth before they make a decision to commit. This is going to require those who are going to reach this culture to learn how to verbally walk this generation through scripture to help them understand the why questions they have. The exciting part to this generation is if they are authentically seeking after God the emerging – postmodern will not only have the understanding to put their faith in Christ, but also the demonstration of the power of God. We have the corner market on this if we will unite as the body of Christ and begin fulfilling the Biblical mandate God has called us to.
The second thing that we must do is communicate verbally words that they understand. It is more than learning a slang word, but we need to use illustrations that the postmodern is familiar with. Along this thought, we must rise up as communicators of the gospel and stop talking about God and begin helping position the postmodern so that they can have an authentic experience with God. I hear many a sermon talking about who God is and what God has done, but we need to help position individuals to experience God in their everyday life. God is not a story, but a God who desire to be personally acquainted with each of us in our everyday life. We must help our postmodern culture take steps to experience God authentically in their life.
If we are going to reach anyone with the gospel we must show that we care. You have probably heard that before. Before they will listen to us, people need to know that they can trust you and that your words are more than an echo of someone else. We authentically must show the love of God and be contagious as we reach not just the postmodern culture, but a person who was made in the image of God, who doesn’t have a relationship with his maker. God is the real thing, help people know Him!
1 Thessalonians 1:5 says “I came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” I think sometimes when we hear the words “Emerging Church” many traditional people look at it as the absence of the power of God and the focus is more on the persuasive words! For some Emerging Churches this is true, but as being a Pentecostal people this can’t be the case. We need to be clear in our message and our tactics need to embrace the technology of today to aid us in our communication. We need to help this postmodern culture understand scripture by giving them practical ways to apply these deep Biblical truths. I am geared in a way that I want to give every believer not only the understanding of scripture, but to give them the right tools for their life to live an authentic Christian Life that is NOT hidden, but is seen by all and is something that they want to embrace instead of being embarrassed about. If you ask some of the younger generation you probably would find many who are trying to live out their faith, but aren’t willing to invite friends to local churches they tend to do the traditional patterns that carry little or no meaning to this generation. (Understand I am not saying all churches are this way, because there are many churches doing a great job.) I am saying we need to understand our culture and stop entertaining the church and begin being the church living out scripture. Equip the saints and reach the lost.
So as I read the above passage in 1 Thessalonians I am convinced that the Emerging Church must be a generation that is practical in helping individuals understand scripture, but also passionate about seeking after a God that desires to empower us to live out our faith as we read in 2 Peter! He has given us everything we need for life and godliness….that is IF we are a people that are seeking and allowing Him to rule and reign in our lives. I know it is my prayer to reach this postmodern and postchurch culture as the power of God is being witnessed as we run the race of faith together.
A question was posed this week…What does the emerging church look like in Pentecostalism? I think the first think we must do is define what is emerging.
Since emerging is to seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched, I think it clear that the emerging church and Pentecostalism is isn’t separate from the church. Or at least it shouldn’t be. If we are truly a Pentecostal people then it is part of who we are. The problem even with what I have just stated is that many people are filtering Pentecostalism through traditional pictures that they have experience or seen. Since the target of the emerging church is to reach the postmodern or post-churched, we need to be cautious how we present Pentecost to them. I have seen many a people pushed away from experiencing Pentecost do to over-zealous individuals who have a poor definition of Pentecost and also out of order displays of the gifts of the spirit. As we are reaching a post modern culture we should simply walk the individuals through who God is – communicating His character, help them understand the person of the Holy Spirit and then help them understand how the Holy Spirit operates in our lives. Check out Earl Creps Thoughts.