Two days ago I wrote a review on John Burke’s book, “No Perfect People Allowed.” I enjoyed every chapter of the book, but the very last chapter spoke to my heart in a powerful way. I have no doubt that my call is to children, but after reading this chapter, it makes me what to go out and plant an emerging church. Here’s a quote from this chapter:
Although the church appears statistically to be less and less of an influence in our postmodern, post-Christian world, God has not given up on his vision for his church. After all, the church was his idea, and he sees it as his beautiful bride when functioning as he intended. The church, functioning as his Body, can still influence our world one life at a time as you have seen through the stories told in previous chapters. But we need thousands of churches with a come-as-you-are culture, following the Scriptures under the Spirit’s guidance, formed out of the mess, unchurched culture of our postmodern context.
The hope for the resuscitation of the church lies in the hands of its future leaders. Leaders create culture – in churches, in small groups, wherever they lead – and culture determines how people function together. Leaders serve and empower others to use their unique gifts together to fully function as the Body, so that every part functions effectively in his or her unique way, re-presenting Christ to the world. But that’s part of the problem. We have a broken paradigm for envisioning, equipping, and empowering new leaders.
According to recent surveys, only 5% of current senior pastors say they have the gift of leadership. Most pastors have the primary gift of teaching, which is essential for the health of the church, but teaching alone cannot create culture or mobilize all the gifts needed for the Body to function effectively. We have operated according to a modern model of church, where the church is seen primarily as an educational institution. And so we have raised up teachers, and seminaries to equip teachers to teach, but we have no model or part for raising up or equipping leaders. As a result, naturally gifted leaders have no vision for starting new churches.
The context is that the Church in America is in decline. The church is failing significantly to reach the postmodern generation. The only way to reverse the trend is to raise up more leaders with a passion to reach this generation. It’s easy to focus on a lot of areas of ministry that “seem” important. Honestly, I know how busy I get keeping all the plates spinning. But what can be more important than reproducing myself in others?
Technorati Tags: Leadership,Reproduction,Postmodern
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this is very thought provoking. Perhaps we need less programs so we can have more time to relate and follow up on visitors. Seems the church to have strong visitation ministries, and while I agree our culture today doesn’t like those visits or simply isn’t home enough to visit, that was the strong relational tie to new comers. Now visitors have to join our programs (get with our program) to experience relationships, and frankly, that’s too big a jump for most.
TYPO: meant “the church used to have” just want the context above to have sense.
I agree. I think less is more. I’ve slowly come to the realization that I’ve got to do less. I’m a programaniac at heart and I love coming up with “things” to do with kids… which are relational, fun and life-changing. However, I end up spending too much time making the programs great and I neglect the things that are most important: being relational and developing leaders. See, my faulty thinking is that I’ll create these “grand” programs where I and other volunteers can relate to kids… but the programs become so “grand” the tail ends up wagging the dog. I’m starting to drop the programs and just focus on finding easy ways to relate with kids and equip leaders. And I’m getting more sleep.