Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Your Suggestions Please

I'm the Community Outreach Pastor at my church. I've been pondering this question and want to know what you think:

How can one foster an entire church culture that deeply cares about sharing Christ with non-believers?

In other words, how can a church become entirely concerned about sharing Christ in everything that it does?

3 comments:

  1. I'm thinking you ask the hard questions. I would love to be part of that church. I am not one who has a heart for doing so much organized stuff within the church banquets & whatever, Id rather have the energy put in outrea. I like the simple fellowship within the body. We need to seriously study and learn the Way, then go out and share the love of Christ where ever we find ourselves. I would love to see a question posed to new church members "what will your ministry be in the church?" I don't know Keith...I know I have such a desire to share Jesus because I know what a difference He made in my life. Freedom from I past I couldn't make any change in on my own, I never knew He loved me that much...enough to die for me, until I was told by someone. I know how deep the need can be.

    Sherrie

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  2. You know, I've been struggling with this same question. Part of me wonders if it is even a possibility in western American culture, with emphasis and value placed on the individual rather than the community. Further, I wonder if it is possible in a culture dominated by consumerism (and often the church buys into this mentality as well) and affluence. Is it possible for a people who have everything they could ever need and want to actually understand a Messiah that came and said: "I have been anointed to preach the good news to the poor (Luke 4:18)"? I would recommend at this point: "Jesus Wants to Save Christians" By: Rob Bell because he deals with the culture of empire, and argues that what needs to change is what you've already stated: culture. I think as pastors we need to foster changing culture itself so that it reflects a culture that is shaped by Christ.
    Practically speaking, I'm still struggling with this, but I think that it starts with taking the emphasis for ministry off of the clergy, and placing the emphasis on the "priesthood of all believers."
    To sum up, I think that what needs to happen to begin this change that we desire, is to lead congregations away from viewing church as a place for individual consumers to come and receive a spiritual product, and into a place of understanding of the "priesthood of all believers." This would mean that church is no longer a place for consuming but rather for participating in kingdom work. It also means that we need to confront the gods of individualism, affluence and empire within our congregations. Then I think we can lead the people in missional understandings of church. I also think that it will have an impact on vocational ministry. I'm starting to think that this new emphasis on the priesthood of all believers will challenge clergy to give up their full time salaries, and seek bi-vocational roles. How are we to lead a missional church if we aren't involved intimately in the secular culture? We must lead by example. This shift in thinking will require the clergy to trust the Holy Spirit to gift the people for the work of the church, and to let go of our grip on on ministerial responsibilities. I'd love to continue this conversation because I think it so important.

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  3. Wow! Thanks for adding to the conversation. I think one of the hardest things is moving from the theology of it to the practice. How can we flesh our the theology practically?

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What do you think?