Monday, March 05, 2007

church clones

Joe Thorn excerpts an article by Ed Stetzer.
In the Kingdom of God, cultural uniformity is not a value. Instead, Scripture speaks of, and celebrates, every tongue, tribe, and nation. The Kingdom is not a monolithic Kingdom of clones. Rather, it affirms both the individual and his or her tongue and tribe. God is honored when his churches reflect the diversity of heaven. Because of this diversity, every church, to be effective and faithful, must find its unique call and clarify its own vision.
Ed Stetzer serves as the missiologist and senior director of the Center for Missional Research at the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Ga., and co-pastor of Lake Ridge Church in suburban Atlanta. His most recent books are Breaking the Missional Code (with David Putman, 2006) and Planting Missional Churches (2006).
I am in the position of visiting a number of churches in person, as well as many more via the web... checking out, in a small way, what God is doing. There is something disappointing when I see the same things in so many places, without the fresh nuance of the Spirit in working in that place. It's been good to be in a couple of worship gatherings where I didn't know all the songs... because God was birthing new music / worship in those places; to be in places where it is clear that the church is much bigger than what is happening on the sunday AM.

Many years ago, in the early 1980's I had the privilege of being part of a meeting in Toronto when Bob Birch and George Malone [does anyone know what happened to him, after he returned to the USA] as they travelled across Canada, trying to sense what the Spirit was saying to the church in Canada. 25years ago, I remember Bob & George saying there were only 2 places they had been to where they sensed the churches being the church in the community: Calgary, AB & Barrie, ON. My guess is that there are more places where that could be said today... including here in K-W.


Anonymous said...

You have hit upon something pretty significant.

Walkingchurch has hit some of these obstacles. We are the Church - but we don't look like a preconceived model of what a church looks like. We don't meet in a building; we don't do three fast and three slow worship tunes (whether it be from a hymnal or an overhead); we don't take up an offering nor do we hand out bulletins; and sadly there is no sermon; and we don't meet every Sunday at 10.30 (dare to say 'forsake'...ah tell me this is not so) ....yet we remain the Church and His Holy Spirit is free to effectively reign and move within us.

The problem we encounter is that because we do not look like the preconceived model of what a 'church' should look like - we don't get the draw. (you meet at a restaurant and go for a walk...that is hardly church; hate to say it we have had more 'church' than most who meet every Sunday in a pretty setting and endure the boredom)

We are simply not recogized. We have God's approval not man's...and which really counts?

What I think happens is that humans try to manufacture what McChurch should look based on what has always been or what might be politically comfortable.

I believe that humans need to release it all control into the most competent hands of her leader . . . Abba.

The other problem I have is that this traditional DNA reproduces itself...meaning you have to be acknowledged by a traditional denomination in order to exist...I was peeling back the layers of what would be required to be a chaplain in a hospital...ya have to be ordained or have a letter from a sponsoring denomination. In order to go to seminary, you need a letter from your elder or pastor etc.

It is simply not enough to say that God has called you out! It is not enough to be ordained by God. You need to be ordained by a denomination that is defined by doctrine.

It is a very interesting spot where I am these days.

RoG of walkingchurch.

\m/ said...

Right now god is having a beer and a good hard laugh because people like you are still fawning over some glorious thing that you think exists.

I guess you just have to delude yourself with something until you die.

Scott said...

It's nice when churches have a fresh approach to things, but I also think there's value in not having to do everything different then everyone else.

Churches can learn from each others successes and failures, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. For instance if one church has a good song that inspires people to worship, why not share it with others. I agree that churches shouldn't totally mimic each other, but there's nothing wrong with similarity.

Infact I might suggest a church that felt they had to do everything in their own special way might have some superiority issues.

As for lml comments, I'm not sure exactly what he/she's referring to, but if its the perfect church they might have a point. I don't think it exists, infact I know it doesn't. (at least not as long as I'm involved).

I just hope to be connected with a body of believers with a strong convinction and passion to follow God in all they do, whether that means doing something old, something new, something cloned or something unique.