Doug talks about two seemingly competing ways of determining vision, mission and values for Christian communities. Is it the Moses Model or the Pentecost Model? Maybe it is both. Doug also talks about surviving Christian bootcamp!
2 Responses to A Community-Sized Calling (Podcast)
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I really enjoyed this podcast, Doug. I like who you fleshed out both sides, giving a real feeling of church as a family, changing with the seasons, as the congregation grows, as God brings new people in with particular giftings. After all, the church’s purpose is to be Christ’s body in the world, touching specific communities with specific issues with the love and power of God. Right before I listened to the podcast I was reading Ephesians 4 where the whole church is needed to grow into the fullness of Christ, everybody plays a part in that growth, but also every member is helping every other to grow in Christ personally as well as the collective discernment you mention.
When I first started coming to church, I thought of it like attending a lecture. I enjoyed the worship music, but the sermon was the main point of the service for me, and of course, only a ‘qualified’ person could do that. Many years later, I have come to appreciate worship as important as the sermon, praying with one another also an important part of why God wants us to gather together. But I think the megachurches, based on ‘celebrity’ pastors have allowed people to presume that it is the pastor who sets the tone for the church: the congregation becomes a grateful audience, who knows enough to volunteer when necessary and give financially, but the spiritual leadership of the church is assumed to be the responsibility of the pastoral staff, the paid professionals.
Now it seems people see church through the eyes of our consumer culture. It’s not a family that grows over time: it’s an organization that is chosen on the basis of its benefits for the one who attends. If people don’t receive what they want, they go on to a new church. To me, the problem is that people are putting their desires at the center, instead of joining a community intent on seeking God together. So I sympathize with those pastors who are unresponsive to the ‘suggestions’ of congregants( obviously, you can expect some suggestions to be self-serving, without really considering if it would be for the benefit of the whole church). Until the congregation is willing to shoulder its spiritual responsibilities, the church will reflect the pastor’s vision (more like the Moses model) because he has the deepest commitment.
As the congregation we have to learn not to criticize, but to be part of the solution. If nothing else, we need to pray for our pastors, especially when we disagree with them, and also pray God to show us, as individuals, and collectively, what His purpose for this specific assembly at this time is. We have to rediscover our calling, as we immerse ourselves in Scripture and the Holy Spirit, otherwise we’re just another business organization. We the non-pastoral members of the body need to pray God for that deep commitment to the local church, as well as the greater body of Christ, that we see in our most faithful pastors. To God be the glory
Great thoughts! Thanks for the listen and interaction.