Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On the Future of the Church

I put the following on my Facebook status recently – my thoughts this summer are full tilt about church:

Leaders won't take the church into a healthy future. Neither will those intent upon "the will of God," nor the ones committed to a "healthy church." The hope for the church lies upon ordinary people who have experienced intimate nearness to God, Himself. Of Peter and John it was said, "They recognized them as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13)."

A few comments on the future of the church:

 Pastors nowadays are good at evangelism, not helping others cultivate intimacy with God. These “converts” are like seed thrown by the path which will invariably get trampled by today’s culture and die.

 Pastors nowadays are good at running an organization. Churches have organization, but if the leadership is not in tune with the Spirit and deeply committed to personal Godliness, the only product will be fruitless activity, not kingdom building.

 Pastors nowadays are scholarly and good orators. But, if the words are not formed in the crucible of the prayer closet by a heart grown healthy in stillness and solitude ever heeding the Spirit’s direction, then sermons become nothing more than moralistic prattle telling others how to behave. And, God’s kingdom is not built.

 Pastors nowadays are good at telling others about obedience to Jesus. I know of very few that know Jesus – see the difference? We can figure out the implications of this one quite easily.

 The “successful” church will consist of, as Brennan Manning puts it, “bedraggled ragamuffins” whose desperate and primary goal is to plumb the depths of Christ-acceptance. Church people nowadays (who get this honestly from their leader(s) who think they know the love of the Father, but don’t) are driven by guilt or fear that God is gonna getcha! This will not survive the current wave of cultural and godless persecution.

 The healthy church will devote priority energy toward building community, true community – the context for true spiritual growth. (I have defined community elsewhere in my blog).

 The healthy church will hold tradition loosely, careful not to jettison practices just because they have been around for a long time, nor lose the respect for the holiness of God through crazy and novel innovations.

 The church of the future will live by and submit to the authority of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Scholarship is a must. The right combo is a smart mystic!

 That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

ebroussard said...

"The hope for the church lies upon ordinary people who have experienced intimate nearness to God, Himself"...the only model I have seen work.