Sunday, September 25, 2005

It’s time to STOP…


“If all Jesus cared about from his disciples was a “decision for Christ,” they could’ve kept their day jobs. Rather, he asked them to follow him for three years and learn from him how to live a life of abundance in the service of the Kingdom of God.” – Syler Thomas (YouthWorker Journal)
A couple of comments…
First of all, this has got it. In a recent conversation someone mentioned how a student had made decision to follow Christ and that when they came to church on Sunday they were bored out of their tree – and that that was bad. I bit down on my tongue until I could almost taste blood. I’ve used that argument to advocate a change in the format of our Sunday morning services. Well shame on me. And yes that is exactly where this person went with his line of thinking.
Now I have a problem with that. Why do we have this expectation that we should bend our practice of faith in order to accommodate the needs of the individuals who may be very unfamiliar with it? The reason given to me is that we should consider the weaker brother as indicated in Paul’s writings. I’m not sure that should be our motivation for change in practice.
This incident reminded of how our goal in introducing people to a relationship with Christ needs to be a clear understanding of the sacrifices that each will make to enter such a relationship authentically. What we have been ‘selling’ this far is that Jesus solves your problems. What we should ‘sell’ is how a life of sacrifice to Christ’s teachings will give us the tools we need to solve our problems. It’s time to STOP midway games. We are not playing for spiritual teddy bears. It’s not magic we are offering.
Does anyone remember when Christ challenged the rich young ruler? I wonder if anyone of us ministers might have the guts to lay down the gauntlet like that. I have to admit that what I have practiced and witnessed is basically bending over backwards to make accepting Christ the easiest thing possible for our prospective candidate. I see that hand…
So recently I had a review of my ministry performance and as many of you know these things are precursors to thoughts of noose ropes. But hey here is an encouraging marker to aim for. Yup they want see more kids baptized this year. As many as 24 kids if possible…
Cool…
Can someone explain to me why there seems to be a preoccupation with referring to Christianity in terms of "the kingdom"? I've seen words like worship colloquialized into meaninglessness and my hope would be that the same would not happen to this term of reference. But I am sure there is good reason for this terminology to be popular currently...
out.

5 comments:

Gil said...

Interesting thoughts here Dale. Your views have changed a bit on this one over the years. I agree with you. Is our primary goal to make 'the church' more palatable to people who are not familiar with its practices? Or SHOULD our primary aim be to help people with no background in the faith to feel more at home in what we do as a church. This forces us as churches to examine whether or not what we are doing has anything to do with actual discipleship. It also forces those who are seeking to follow Jesus to submit themselves to a greater authority than 'what I find personally interesting.' Always interesting to read what's on your mind...

Incoming... said...

don't get me wrong i do think that change in our practice of faith corporately and personally needs to change but this excuse should not be our motivation. It is humbling when you recognize former beliefs that now seem untennable...

roverT said...

Hey, why did you bite your tongue with that guy? It sounds like you had some good advice/opinions to share with him. What you are saying makes a lot of sense, I had never really thought of it in that way. I read a book called "A Bridge Between Two Worlds" written by Mark Humphries (Winnipeger)He talked a lot about the the "Christian culture" and how we need to offer a bridge between the two world's...I guess the secular world and our world. He worked with goths here in Winnipeg for a long time, talk about a gap to bridge!

How do we bridge that gap though? When we bring a kid to Church and they don't like it do we just say, "suck it up, that is the sacrifice you have to make to be a Christian?" What is the bridge? Is it a three year process like Jesus offered? Or can we just drop someone into our culture and expect them to survive? Yes, we need to challenge them, but how do we do that in a way that works?

In the end I it comes down to relationship, as it always seems to.

Incoming... said...

this is just it
like i said i think we do have to make changes and we do have to be more accomodating of how people will interact with what we are presenting. but I don't think that the reason of this kid just got saved so lets change our service is valid. the kind of change i'm talking about would leave us with 'church' that would hardly be recognizable. and how church would change would hopefully make it more accessible especially for our younger people. but if we use the reason that we should make church different becuase new Christians need something more accessible well then i think we will be in danger of dumbing down our faith. Until then I feel your pain, it does feel incredibly awkward to introduce people to what is supposed to be a the most important community of people they will belong and have it suck for them. I guess we really have our work cut out for us...

Vicky and Les said...

intriguing these thoughts on "church". how do we define it. where do we go from what we know. there might definitely be something to say about 'relational' ministry in the sense of church. but it also makes me wonder. here am i in HILLSONG ville where church for them occurs pretty much everyday and also about 4 times on the weekends. and they have church 4 times because the number of people that come can't be held in their 4000 seater building.....what to be said. people come. who knows what they take from it....but they are there. i walk in and know no one...and not too many people offer themselves to me....so not sooo relational. now let me just offer too that a lot that is focussed on in this church is "God's plan and purpose for you life" "your destiny" "your future" and yes people want to hear that stuff....the hopeful stuff that keeps them coming back.....there isn't so much down to earth reality preaching.....and yet i still think at the existence of this church....the people still come. and it is always full. always. perhaps they are still just drinking in the milk and sometime soon they will get slapped in the face by a huge t-bone steak(ahah its funny that i say that cuz i don't eat meat)
but the times of music....are so incredibly intense. and i say that as a skeptic....which for me is radically suprising....but where in lies the hitch....why is this stuff happening here in australia but it isn't in north america....or am i just missing the boat.
vics