Friday, August 24, 2007

Life Support

a Jesus thought...
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

a Godly thought...
In the long term, a church-planting project that emerges out of the households of local, indigenous leaders will be much richer and more effective. (p65 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
Leaders always have an eye on the future and that includes preparing their organisation for its next leader. (p280 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
The church is referred to as a body and like all living organisms a church must have a life. Over the years I have been to a lot of very old churches that are into the last years of their life, some I would suggest are on life support. It seems we observe churches doing their bodies harm with harmful substances that will reduce their life span, but because we don't believe in euthanasia for the church we want to let it die a natural death. But it is not really a natural death as over the years medical knowledge has improved so life support happens with funding that often doesn't get turned off until 20 years after a corps has been in hospital.
Often the healthiest years of a local church expression are when it is 10 years of age, because to grow and to establish itself in a new community it must be outward focused. So my suggestion is we close our churches every ten years while they have the most health. We then ask those connected to it to go and plant some new expressions, maybe this will keep the church constantly growing and outward focused.

Just a thought.


Tim said...

I think you're on the right track! If we are serious about becoming a flexible movement again I think we need to try to break our addiction with 'Church' buildings.

Prior to World War 1, most corps in Australia probably didn't own their own hall. This was the time the Army was at its largest.

Think of the tens of thousands of dollars each year that we spend on our halls, often with corps of less than 40 people. Perhaps this money would be better spent on mission in our communities.

fee said...

on one hand, this is a great idea. i love it. but on the other - are you crazy? my current corps is 7 years old. but we already have so many 'traditions' of our own. it's not always dependant on the age of a church as to the way it functions. maybe you need to link this idea with the church leaders. a few blogs ago i remember reading about you feeling sad about leaving the place that has been your community for so long...i think you know where i am going. in these times, the army is leaving people in appointments longer than ever. i think we need to be careful that we don't leave them there too long. this not only goes for officers, but those in leadership positions as well. our governments and their cabinets are always being switched around, but how often do we switch around our corps council members?
one corps that i sometimes attend, their biggest ministry team is their worship team. each year, they apply to be part of it and they only commit for one year. every year it then changes, some stay on. it's different enough that it's fresh, while same enough to hold on to the good and the progress that is happening. i like this idea in this context and maybe we can take some of these principles and apply them.
and for those churches that are dying...i don't know, sometimes it's easier just to let them die and for us to spend our energy on those in whose lives we can make a difference.
hmm. appears i rambled a bit. love to you and the fam.

Anonymous said...

It is an very interesting thought. Some of our Corps Plants have got stuck after a few years also... Some Corps have also got stuck. I do agree that we need to reinvent ourselves continually and maybe this can be done without closing down every ten years. Leaders need to be continually looking at the trends in the community they are placed and see are we relevent? are we meeting the needs or just looking after ourselves?

Alot of this is connected to the above post also about our officers being pastors and teachers and people being comfortable being pastored instead of reaching out to others.

Could go on and on I also dont believe that we should be pouring money into corps that are not prepared to move on .... it does not make sense in anyones terms and it is also not fair to place young and keen officers into such corps without resources (money and people resources) etc and expect them to resurrect the dead.