Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Present Future—New Reality #2—The Shift from Church Growth to Kingdom Growth.

This new reality has the wrong title. McNeal makes the strong case for moving the focus of the church’s activity away from the church building and taking it to the streets. I believe that the title should be, “Taking it to the Streets.”

Taking the gospel to the streets would means:

  • Going to where the people already are gathering.
  • Earning the right to be heard.
  • Getting dirty for God.
  • Being able to articulate why we are doing what we are doing in a way that is clearly Christ focused.

“…church leaders didn’t know how to deal with a church that moved from a privileged position to a church in exile in an increasingly alien culture.”

-McNeal, The Present Future, page 21.

“It’s amazing what we don’t see when we aren’t looking… Religious people don’t see people, they see causes, behaviors, stereotypes, people ‘other’ than them.”

-McNeal, The Present Future, page 28.

I was talking with an Evangelical Covenant Church pastor the other day. As a part of our conversation he told me about the Covenant Church in Poulsbo, WA, Alive Covenant Church. Alive Covenant lives McNeal’s new reality #2. Alive meets together for worship once a month (called 4:56pm)—the first Sunday of the month. The gathering begins with a featured artist performing from 4:30pm – 4:56pm. Worship goes from 4:56pm – 6:00pm. One Sunday a month the entire congregation meets in house churches. One Sunday a month each house church does a service project (called 1 Step) in the community. One Sunday a month is Celebration—a time for church folks to gather together to build relationships and enjoy each other’s company (see the link for house churches).

Moving from church growth to kingdom growth is difficult! North American Christians have been conditioned to huddle together every Sunday. We have been conditioned to have a Sunday School, a VBS and an organ. We have been conditioned to being keepers of the truth instead of being workers of the kingdom.

Making the shift will be difficult for liberal/progressive churches and for conservative/evangelical churches. We are all vested in the current system. We fight for our causes. We believe that we are keepers of the truth. All the while, we are irrelevant to the surrounding culture. Both types of churches spend most of their time hiding inside of church walls.

I have a crazy idea… it is too crazy to even put in print at this time.

Personal notes:

  • Glenn, let’s set to a time to talk and begin praying about this crazy idea.
  • Kyle: Your wife told me that you liked the photos of my dahlias last summer and fall. I have some dahlia tubers and plants that I am going to give you guys as a “baby present.”


At 12:01 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

Looking forward to the "crazy idea", being a person with three heads, myself.

At 10:34 PM , Blogger Principal Mr. Malone said...

I'm ready to Pray for a Crazy Idea!


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