Good things happening at Sacred Roots Community in Portland. Explore this community in this well done eight minute video.
Archive for the ‘Church’ Category
In this 11 minute video, Palau Association President Kevin Palau interviews Imago Dei Community Pastor Rick McKinley.
Good discussion on how the holistic gospel doesn’t separate or try to remove or even compartmentalizes, but understands that both proclamation and social justice need each other. They are both part of the embodiment of the gospel.
Rick also talks about the partnership between the churches in Portland and the City of Portland that attempts to embody this shift change.
- A culture of Celebrity (affirmation)
- A culture of Consumerism (appetite)
- A culture of Competition (ambition)
It is a good read, but the temptation around consumerism is still, in my opinion, the biggest issue many of our churches face today.
Here is what Mike has to say about the issue and a question to ponder.
We live in a culture that revolves around consuming. Every TV commercial, every store, every credit card company, every bank, every TV show or movie, every piece of clothing, car or product, every website, every restaurant…every everything is tailored to fit your desires, needs or personal preference. We are easily infuriated when things don’t happen exactly as we want them. We exist in a place that implicitly says this: “We are here to serve you and meet your every whim and desire. Let us take care of you.” What’s more, it’s never enough. Eventually the house or the car get older and we want new ones. The clothes aren’t as fashionable and we want something more in style. That restaurant is getting boring, we must find another. Our favorite TV show is wearing thin, so the search begins for the next favorite. And on and on and on. This is how we are wired to think in the United States. And it is all backed up by this rationale: You’re worth it. You deserve to have what you want, how you want it, when you want it. And for the most part, the church plays the exact same game. We do as best we can to provide as comfortable an experience as humanly possible, using every means at our disposal to attract them in (and then keep them in). So we tailor what we do around their wants and desires. That’s Marketing 101, right? The problem is at the end of the day, the only thing that Jesus is counting is disciples. That’s it. He doesn’t seem to care too much about converts, attendance, budgets or buildings. It’s about disciples. And, by nature, disciples are producers, not consumers. Yet most of our churches are built around feeding consumers. I’d argue 90% of the church’s time, energy and resources are linked to this. But the issue is this: The means you use to attract people to you are usually the means you must use to keep them. In other words, if you use consumerism to attract them to your church, it often means you must continue using it to keep them…or else they will find another church who will meet their “needs.” And yet…that consumer mentality is antithetical to the Gospel and to the call of Discipleship. Disciples aren’t consumers, they are producers. Jesus cared about disciples more than anything else.
Question: In what ways is your church community using consumerism as the means to draw people to a Gospel that is, in and of itself, anti-consumerism?
Notorious Leader of an Underground Liberation Movement
Wanted for the following charges:
- Practicing medicine, winemaking and food distribution without a license.
- Interfering with businessmen in the temple.
- Associating with known criminals, radicals, subversives, prostitutes and street people.
- Claiming to have the authority to make people into God’s children.
Appearance: Typical hippie type—long hair, beard, robe, sandals.
Hangs around slum areas, few rich friends, often sneaks out into the desert.
Beware: This man is extremely dangerous. His insidiously inflammatory message is particularly dangerous to young people who haven’t been taught to ignore him yet. He changes men and claims to set them free.
Warning: He is still at large!
These are the opening lines of the June 21, 1971, cover story in Time magazine. It covered the “Jesus Revolution” or as we usually labeled it, “The Jesus Movement.” It was the time when the Spirit moved deeply among the under 30 generation — a generation growing up in “an impersonal and despiritualized life that increasingly finds release in sexploration, status, alcohol and conspicuous consumption.” A world falling apart, being exploited and destroyed, where a “Silent Spring” seems very likely, a world on the “Eve of Destruction.” It was a time when many of us honestly never expected to see our 30th birthday (seriously).
And the Church? Irrelevant, meaningless and sold out to “The Man.”
The Jesus revolution rejects not only the material values of conventional America but the prevailing wisdom of American theology.
Times don’t seem to have changed much, but the Spirit is blowing a refreshing breeze among His people which has again opened spiritual eyes and ignited a movement — the missional movement — where “the way of Jesus” informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for Him and others and where we adopt a missionary stance in relation to our culture.
The Jesus Movement faded, but its fruit radically impacted the American church. I expect the missional movement as we know it will also fade, but it too will (and already has) have a radical and deep influence on western Christendom.
Because the Jesus Movement is the root of the missional movement, it is well worth your time to read the full Time magazine story. You can find it here.
Other Relevant Posts
I was in my “nothing” box just mindlessly popping around the web when I ran across Adam’s blog, The Thin Place.
In 2005 he created and posted a couple of interesting visuals inspired while reading Dan Kimball’s book “Emerging Worship.” I found them interesting and clarifying. What do you think?
I’ve often noted that the term “church” refers to the people of God; the called out ones; those formed for his dwelling and bearers of his presence in the world. It doesn’t refer to a building, denomination or physical location.
This video clip points this out well. I wish I’d had it for the class I recently taught on the subject. My tagline for the class was, “The Church is a who, not a what.”
HT: Rob Fairbanks
This is a repost from 2007 that fits with the post on Missional Transformation - Three Shifts.
Back in the 80’s I had a very wise and forward thinking pastor. His name is Dr. Wayne McDill, who is now Senior Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I was looking through some old journals for a specific piece of information. As I’m want to do, I got sidetracked reading notes and observations from the past including an item Wayne shared in a disciplining session for his elders. Using the illustration below, he talked about two models a pastor or leadership team could use to “build” a faith community.
The viewpoint of the pastor or leadership in the exploitation model is that people are the resource for the work. Note that the focus is on the leadership directing and using people so they can “build a great church for God.” The common lament is, “If only the people were more committed.”
The viewpoint of the leadership in the edification model is that God is the resource and he will build his church. The focus is on God and Eph. 2:10 and Eph. 4:11-16 would be the guiding ideal.
I was recently reading a paper by Krista Petty titled, “Making Good Ideas Happen: How to Help Your People Unleash Their Best Innovations,” where she talks about flipping the common church leadership paradigm and equipping and guiding the people of God to launch new ministries. Like Dr. McDill, she sees two models.
Using the first diagram below, Ms. Petty explains, “The senior minister, staff or leadership are paid to come up with the vision and direction, followed by the events, activities and programs to make the vision a reality. Often, leaders have the ideas and together with the people, they do the work.”
Instead of this American triangular organizational business model with top-down results, Petty suggests that “shared-vision leadership can present itself more like a diamond as both leaders and individuals shine with vision and passion to reflect blessing to the community. As individuals are impassioned with service ideas, successful church leaders will not be the only keepers of the vision; they will also serve as a conduit and encouragement for helping others develop in Christ and for community ministry benefit.” Sounds similar to Dr. McDill’s edification model.
I really don’t think many in the modern institutional church realize just how much American business models and theory have seeped into and permeate the way we go about the work of God. Our dependence is all too often on the right model, marketing effort or program (a business model) instead on God and his people.
Yesterday I shared three major developments that Reggie McNeal believes must take place in order for the church to undergo a missional transformation.
The second shift in the three is to move from a program-driven agenda to a people-development agenda. This shift is necessary because the North American church has largely become a collection of programs run by staff and non-staff leaders and has lost its people-development calling.
Reggie believes the “rise of the program-driven church correlates directly with the rise of the service economy in post-World War II America. The manufacturing engine powering the economy yielded to the service sector as Americans could afford to pay other people to do things they no longer wanted to do themselves or couldn’t do themselves. People began to outsource food preparation, lawn maintenance, laundry, oil changes, and child care. And Americans outsourced spiritual formation to the church. It was during this period that the concept of church as a vendor of religious goods and services became entrenched in the ethos of the North American church culture.
“The demanding service expectation on the part of church families drove the church to proliferate its offerings in children’s and student ministries at first. This was followed by scores of other programs in an increasingly market-driven approach to capturing church members. The church growth movement of the last quarter of the twentieth century fed this frenzy as churches clamored for customers who could support the program expansion. The result was a resettling of the church population into congregations who have both paid attention to this program expectation and fed it as well.
“Church programming became increasingly complex as churches became more adept and more able to develop ministry options. The assumption grew that the church could provide the venues and opportunities for people to live out their entire spiritual journey as part of a church sponsored or church operated activity. This approach to Christian life has gone on now for so long that it seems natural and normal to North American church people.”
Because the program-driven agenda has become so deep-seated and expected, nurturing a people-development agenda and culture will require some important alteration in the way church leaders think and behave. In this video, Reggie talks about this second shift and how to foster it.
This is a 2-minute video that attempts to provide a sense the change in perspective between our traditional view of church and missional church.
HT: Alan Hirsch