There is a major shift occurring in the Church today. Some would call it a SEAM in history. Approximately every 500 years, the Church goes through a sweeping change in its attempt to live in the tension of adjusting to the times (i.e., contextualization) while remaining theologically orthodox. Here’s an overview of the 4 major shifts: Constantine in the late 4th century, early 5th; the Great Schism of the 11th century; the Reformation in the 16th century; and now the Postmodern era in the 21st century have all been points of reference for these changes. A significant part of this current transition is a shift from what has been called an “attractional model” to a “missional model” of church…
Missional means being willing to adapt and reformulate everything we do in worship, discipleship, community, and service so as to be engaged with the non-churched culture around us (adapted from a definition by Tim Keller; download his article here).
With this blog I will begin a blog series about this dramatic transition in the Church…
10 THINGS ANYONE WHO JOINS IN A TWENTY-FIRST CENTRUY MISSIONAL CHURCH SHOULD NOT EXPECT:
- Should not expect to regularly come to church for just one hour, get what you need for your own personal growth and development, and your kid’s needs, and then leave til next Sunday. Expect mission to change your life. Expect however a richer life than you could have ever imagined.
- Should not expect that Jesus will fit in with every consumerist capitalist assumption, lifestyle, schedule, or accoutrement you may have adopted. Expect to be freed from a lot of crap you will find out you never needed.
- Should not expect to be anonymous, unknown, or be able to disappear in this church Body. Expect to be known, loved, and supported in a glorious journey.
- Should not expect production style excellence all the time at Sunday worship gatherings. Expect organic, simple, and authentic beauty.
- Should not expect a raucous “light out” youth program that entertains the teenagers, puts on a show that gets the kids “pumped up,” all without parental involvement. Instead as the years go by, with our children as part of our life, worship, and mission expect our youth to have an authentic relationship with God thru Christ that carries them through a lifetime of journey with God.
- Should not expect to always “feel good,” or ecstatic on Sunday mornings. Expect that there will ALSO be times of confusion, confession, lament, self-examination, and just plain silence.
- Should not expect a lot of sermons that promise you God will prosper you with “the life you’ve always wanted” if you’ll just believe him and step out on faith and give some more money for a bigger sanctuary. Expect sustenance for the journey.
- Should not expect rapid growth whereby we grow this church from 10 to a thousand in three years. Expect slower organic inefficient growth that engages people’s lives where they are at and sees troubled people who would have nothing to do with the gospel marvelously saved.
- Should not expect all the meetings to happen in a church building. Expect a lot of the gatherings will be in homes, or sites of mission.
- Should not expect arguments over style of music, color of carpet, or even doctrinal outlier issues like dispensationalism. Expect mission to drive the conversation.
O AND BY THE WAY … Should not expect that community comes to you…true community in Christ will take some “effort” and a reshuffling of our priorities. We must learn that the answer to all those things is to enter into the practices of “being the Body” in Christ including — eating, sharing, praying, and playing together.
As C. S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory: “We are far too easily pleased. We have become satisfied with mere church, mere religious exertion, mere numbers and buildings—the things we can do. There is nothing wrong with these things, but they are no more than foam left by the surf on the ocean of God’s glory and goodness.”