Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

SHARE LIFE - Stewardship Stuff

I've been out nearly every night over the past couple of weeks for the purpose of sharing vision regarding Bethany's future. The share life stewardship focus is our Bethany's collective response to our growth. There are several things that I need to be diligent about sharing with our community:

1. The nature of Christ's life is reproductive - Life begats life, and for this reason healthy churches should expect growth. I think church leaders too often fixate on growth and make growth a goal, but when this happens we have completely missed the point. It would be somewhat the same as fixating on the outward signs of health and resorting to cosmetic surgery rather than diet and exercise to make oneself look healthy. Such thinking misses the point, and is dangerous. On the other hand, being inherantly opposed to the growth of a church is somewhat like presuming that everyone who looks good in their jeans has had a liposuction.

2. We're here on earth to embody the kingdom of God - Keeping the primacy of the kingdom before us enables us to remember that we're to be about justice and mercy, liberation and beauty, hope and mercy, peace and reconciliation. The call to share life is a call to share the good news of Christ's reign in a tangible form. This must, and will always be the focus for a healthy church, and it will mean that we will both stand with our city, serving and loving in redemptive ways, and that we will at times stand against the powers of culture, when such powers reinforce poverty, prejudice, violence or greed.

3. We're here to creat leaders, and ultimately, to send out teams of leaders who will start new healthy churches. Our leadership training needs to have four focal points:

a. theology
b. spiritual formation
c. living in community
d. practical experience in ministry and mission

I hope our community sees this vision, and embraces the larger vision rather than fixating on the facilities. New facilities alone wouldn't excite me, but the vision of raising up new leaders and teams and starting new churches is something I will invest in - in every way!


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