The Challenge that will Transform the Church

28 06 2008

There is one simple challenge that a church can take that will once and for all

  • Shift the mission to disciple-making
  • Cause the church to be structured into small bodies (missional communities)
  • Release the 5-fold ministry to focus most of their energy on expansion

I’ve mentioned this challenge in several of my past posts especially here and here but I just discovered that it was posed by an episcopal priest named George Martin in the publication “Today’s Parish” where he wrote –

“Perhaps pastors should imagine that they are going to have three more years in their parish as pastor—and that there will be no replacement for them when they leave. If they acted as if this were going to happen, they would put the highest priority on selecting, motivating, and training lay leaders that could carry on as much as possible of the mission of the parish after they left. The results of three sustained years of such an approach would be quite significant. Even revolutionary.”

I want to work with ANY church leaders willing to serious consider taking this challenge. We need to STOP planting churches that are improperly structured requiring endless maintenance by full-time workers and the lack of serious discipleship and deep community that are their natural byproduct. It’s very simple. Structures that really make disciples, foster community and release the 5-fold are available if we’ll have the courage and fortitude to leave the familiar paths and take this ancient neglected path back to sustainable Kingdom expansion.

Please talk to me if you want to explore this.





Five Questions for my “Missional Community” Friends

25 05 2008

So I’ve been pondering this recent iteration of church many I know are developing which seems to go like this –

  • Start a worship-service(s)
  • Identity leaders
  • Have the leaders form “missional communities”
  • Create advance training programs for leaders
  • Use missional communities to create the small community feel for your church and serve the city/neighborhood (which is the missional part)

Most likely an oversimplification but here are my questions about the overall approach

1. Why apply the word “church” to your network instead of the missional communities themselves?  If people are living 1 Cor. 12 body life in these missional communities, then why promote the worship service expression as a church instead of the body?

2. Isn’t using the phrase “missional community” itself a reactive statement?  Most people in our generation feel the biggest problems with the modern church is a lack of community and a lost focus on mission.  But when you create a model designed to counter-balance the mistake of one generation you’re doomed to over correct and miss other essentials (see below).

3. In this model isn’t discipleship destined to become the 3rd wheel?  Your typical member will be attending weekly worship services and weekly missional community gatherings, so how can discipleship training be a primary focus for 100% of your people?

4. Are you sure that a worship service is the best way to gather people?  I fear many of you guys almost immediately outgrow your ability to disciple and enfold the people you are gathering.  The minute you achieve the “new cool church in town” status I’m concerned the maintenance requirements for these numbers will begin to tweak your model in an unwanted direction.

5. Are you designing a church that you (or some other paid person) will have to indefinitely maintain?  If you could structure a church that could grow and reproduce without paid staff and those of us with 5-fold callings could build new works isn’t this better for the Kingdom?  Paul did it this way why shouldn’t we (or have we found a better way than Paul)?

I’m writing this because I feel closer to you guys than any other group I know but I can’t figure out why we differ on these things.  Your help is appreciated!