Friday, October 05, 2007

We're better and thoughts like it

I've thought about for the last three or four years. It really bothers me when well-meaning people ask me or others what kind of church one attends. Now don't misunderstand, I've never been asked because someone actually thought I was going Mormon or Hindu. They were mainly concerned if I was at a "seeker" church or not. I think it's silly to think that way. It's funny cause those in ministry have been around and have aligned themselves with the style of church/ministry that best suits them and their perspective on scripture. Most seem to do it and don't think twice about placing their vilified label.

I read this today - about a panel talking to thousands of ministry/church leaders on leadership and other church related matters. I found it an appropriate thought for what I've been feeling but not articulating:

"One of the panelists stated about his local church: "We're a discipling church" I'm wondering, what does that even mean? What's a church look like that's not a "discipling church?" Does this comment imply that the rest of us aren't discipling churches? I think, often, in leader's efforts to activate Christ-followers to live out their faith, to reach out to poorer people, to engage the environment as good stewards, they/we tend to attach a word like "discipleship" to the conversation and somehow suggest that the "right" model has finally been discovered.

Our labels - seeker church, teaching church, discipling church, (worshiping), (Spirit-filled/led)reaching church – risk alienating us from each other. These labels suggest that some churches are somehow better, somehow enlightened. Seems to me that in a conversation intending to point out that we've created a poor image of ourselves and our Lord (which is a great observation), we spark divisiveness among us and in doing so, we counter our own objective. (Dlake Editorial: Are the labels we put on ourselves and others for other Christians or for those who are non-churched, dislike the church, and could careless what it's called.)

How about we just be the church (or Christ-followers). What if we – together – focused on caring about those who have not experienced the truth about how God sees them, how much they matter to him. What if… "

I would love to hear someone ask me. . . Is your church about God's Kingdom? That would be refreshing!

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