Listening to God’s Word versus living God’s Word … or going to church versus being the church … served versus serve. Mark 10:45 makes it clear:
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Serving others and through that, loving others.
I came across a new blog (Hearing the Whisper – interestingly a guy who lives in Ohio but used to live in Virginia!) last week, and was intrigued with this post, specifically this paragraph towards the end:
As church leaders we need to change or strategy. Churches are in decline because of our unwillingness to change our strategy. The strategy Jesus instructs his disciples to have is the same strategy that would work best today in our culture. We need to leave the ninety-nine and pursue the lost sheep of the church.
It may be just me but it seems there’s a lot of people in our community that have known the church in some way shape or form, but have been turned off for some reason or another at some point in their life. My take on what this guy was saying is that those are the lost sheep … and we as believers need to change our strategy to meet them. But how?
Just today/yesterday another a local blogger I now follow mentioned here about this paper ‘Ten Paradigm Shifts toward Community Transformation’ (PDF) talks about some ways to change our view of ‘church’ for the 21st century to impact our communities:
- From building walls to building bridges.
- From measuring attendance to measuring impact.
- From encouraging the saints to attend the service to equipping the saints for works of service.
- From “serve us” to service – from inwards to outward focus.
- From duplication of humans services and ministries to partnering with existing services and ministries.
- From fellowship to functional unity.
- From condemning the city to blessing the city and praying for it.
- From being a minister in a congregation to being a minister in a parish.
- From anecdote and speculation to valid information.
- From teacher to learner.
Completely right-on in my mind. Anyway, all of that was more background to what was talked about earlier today which was called ‘Nothing Happens outside of Relationships’. The basic relationship-building principles being these:
- Recognize that relationships take time
- Finish what you start
- Partner with an organization that is morally positive and spiritually neutral
- Recognize that conflict is inevitable
- Develop partnerships with no strings attached – “do nothing out of selfish ambition but in humility consider others better than yourselves”
- Promote and practice gracious evangelism
- Tear down old assumptions
All of these principles are laid out in advance of getting ready to discuss becoming externally focused, but you can actually take several of these principles (really all of them just change certain wording) with any form of relationship!
This also reminded me about when I wrote about (1st post and followup post) another online PDF book “So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore”… still feel the same way now, especially some of the sentiments I stated at the end of the 1st post, especially since several of these have happened since I wrote it:
- “The hardest thing you’ll learn in this journey is to give up the illusion of controlling your own life or that you can manipulate God to bless you.” — EPILEPSY and not being able to drive (see my prior post tonight!)
- “What I hope you’ll do is simply let God connect you with those brothers and sisters he wants you to walk with for now.” —- MYSELF with my G-GROUP GUYS; I can say the same for my wife and several women in her life too!