At the core, Christianity is a movement. Consider the concept: it is moving, alive, and dynamic. You can have a building and not be an institution. You can have order and not control. You can manage God’s resources and not become a bureaucracy. You can be liberated from most meetings and remain legal. You can function more effectively and rise above the tyranny of the machine. You can restart a church caught in the maintenance mode.
But don’t look to a program: top-down, quick-fix restructuring of the latest, greatest, best-selling fad. Think movement – it is the genius of the faith launched by Jesus. A movement is bottom-up, relational influence that enriches and energizes this organism called church.
Jesus embedded in His disciples the DNA of the Kingdom. Go back and look at His teaching about the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven” (concepts that are understood as interchangeable). Focus on the concepts: “the Kingdom is like…,” Jesus said. What are the concepts and how do they fit with the culture of your church?
Here are some of the core markers of that DNA: (1) The high control becomes low control. (2) Personal, relational accountability becomes the lifestyle objective of everyone in the church. (3) The focus on running the machine is minimized, and the mission to “seek and save the lost” is maximized. (4) The primary role of leaders and staff is not to “do ministry,” but to equip others for ministry (Ephesians 4). (5) The power and potential of a church is not the political decisions of the few, but the missional lifestyle of the many. (6) The involvement of the individual is not an election to a board, but the discovery of spiritual gifts. (7) The fulfillment of every Christian is not attending a meeting, but being discipled by another and empowered to operate in your calling. (8) The infrastructure of the local church will reduce meetings to a minimum. (9) Those who lead will focus on discerning God’s will. (10) Their manual will not be Robert’s Rules of Order, but Scripture. (11) The qualification for leadership will not be majority votes, but recognized biblical wisdom. (12) The dominant posture of the Body of Christ will be mission, not maintenance.
There are likely two kinds of responses to this concept: (1) those who consider this simplistically impossible in the real world, and (2) those who have followed their biblical intuition and rejoice in their liberation from the machine. Which are you?
Read more in the May/June 2012 Church Doctor Report.
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