Thursday, September 20, 2007

Boring

a Jesus thought...
A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house. (Matthew 13:57)

a Godly thought...
We believe that churches that fail to reproduce organically actually fail the intention of the gospel implicit in the very gospel itself. (p216 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
All of us can consciously decide to leave behind a life of mediocrity and to live a life of greatness - at home, at work and in the community. (p29 Covey)

a Dave thought...
When unchurched Australian men were surveyed about church, they discovered that the two things they hate doing - singing feminine songs and listening to long boring talks made up 90% of the services they attended. Currently in Australia we have far more women now over 65% in our churches compared to men. As we have shifted from the industrial age to the knowledge work age (as Covey defines) the church has failed to move with these times. I believe we still value the body more than the mind. We measure and value attendance and a person being present not their thinking, creativity and ability to ask questions which should shape the church itself.
Therefore most people who attend our services are not really taught how to think but rather are bodies who are acknowledged when they turn up but their minds are not engaged or questioned.
So as we end up with a smaller but more obedient church, we continue to value our songs, talks and bums on seats, but maybe the minds who will create the future have left us?

Just a thought.

5 comments:

Andrew Short said...

Great thought Dave...
This morning the Lord led me to Ephesians 1:17-20
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

and may our church again see the mighty strength of his power as a result.

eleanorburnejones said...

One year I gave up singing soppy songs for Lent and never looked back. (I think sermons probably went the same way.)

:0)

Now here's the deal I've arrived at after a long personal struggle. If the leader/congregation engage me in, facilitate/mentor me in, at least eight hours a week of missionally effective and well thought-out endeavour as part of some coherent plan,aim or strategy in the corps, I in turn will give a couple of hours a week to maintenance activities and pay my tithe.

If they deliver faithfully to me/us as a Soldier(s), I will absolutely deliver faithfully to the corps. Covenants cut two ways. Faithfulness needs to be mutual in the church. The way I've come to see it, if I end up doing all maintenance activities while others sit around doing nothing, I'm contributing to church dysfunction. If I accept doing nothing but maintenance, I'm contributing to leader dysfunction.

But facilitating, mentoring, engaging in service means conversations, dialogue, training and brain-engagement. This is a terrible struggle for most of our churches who are still in 'bums on seats' mentality.

So well done on the post and I agree absolutely.

Anonymous said...

An interesting comment but it sounds a little like a religious goods and services approach - you do this for me and if I'm satified I commit and do my bit. A 'missional' church is a community where all members are involved in learning to become disciples of Jesus. Furthermore, it is a community of self-sacrifice on behalf of one another both in church and in the locale characterize the generosity of the community.
WJE

eleanorburnejones said...

Fair point. But how does a congregation regain a missional stance if the members just sit there talking about how sad it all is? Do we need to search out and punch out a bottom line for soldiers on the other side of the covenant between them and TSA? (I'm genuinely asking this, I don't have a load of answers!) Church culture is an insidious thing, bringing 'the way things are done around here' to penetrate everyone's thinking until you end up just taking for granted that the 'smaller but more obedient church' Lt Dave refers to is normal.

I find the Articles of War really inspiring and challenging. But it is very difficult to serve effectively within TSA unless the corps in some way facilitates that. I'm not talking about having responsibilities or leadership - I'm talking about being part of a high support, high demand team engaged in the dangerous and exciting adventure of mission.

Yes it is difficult when the congregation lacks any members under the age of seventy (tongue in cheek)as we have here in places in the UK, but surely some clearer thinking on the part of soldiers would help remind the army there are two sides to a covenant?

Dave mentions in his next post that age and risk taking tend to be related. Barna in US I believe have observed that risk taking among ministers decreases with years in ministry. Experienced lay leaders can help restrain excessive risk taking in the early years of a minister's service, but similarly, I feel a bottom line understanding of officer's responsibility to soldiers can restrain the paralysis that can come over more risk averse, or simply exhausted, ministers more advanced in
experience.

Perhaps a greater awareness of the impact of church culture on all of us is a step forward?

Warmest blessings
E.

Anonymous said...

In order to regain the missional in a Spirit-led congregation requires three things: Purpose (mission) Core missional practices and vision. These three dimensions of a Spirit-led congregation are essential for understanding why it exists, what it is to do and how the Spirit appears to be leading into the future. "Purpose"- In the light of the missionary nature of the church, why has God called this corps into existence? We don't start from scratch in trying to figure this out. The answer comes from Scripture.We are to be a community of God's people called, gathered and sent to bear witness to the redemptive reign of God as we seek to participate in God's mission in the world. "Vision" - has to do with how we discern the Spirit's leading into the future. Spirit-led congregations look to the Sciptures to define their purpose, they look to their context to discern their vision. It has to do with a coming to a shared understanding of what God is doing and what God intends to do in a particular context. The church needs to be continually forming and reforming.
WJE