Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do you "fit" in Church?

Donald Miller just wrote a great blog about whether today's church would survive if there wasn't a sermon. This on the heels of the day before's post on whether church produces only church leaders and is it missing a large demographic of other people?

I love the thoughts and where they meet me in my own unfolding church experience. I say unfolding because my view is constantly being formed and reformed and shaped by so many factors. I hope yours is as well!

Wanted to repost my response and hopefully get a little banter going. I am very curious about who my audience is and what you're thinking about.

Hi Everyone– I LOVE this post and it deeply resonates with my current reality. Recently I was participating in a BLOG poll for a Publishing House CEO and Leader who wanted to know his audience. As I went about the survey, something really rustled my feathers and haunted me the coming days (actually this has troubled me for quite some time only this survey hit the nail in more). When asked are you a christian? Yes. Are you a leader? Yes. How involved a Christian? Very. What kind of leadership are you in at your church? I stopped. Befuddled. Troubled. Looked at the categories. None. None? I had not one category to check.

See for 10 years I worked in the non-profit, interdenominational, para-church world. It was my ‘tribe’ for quite some time. Now two years into being “out on my own” I don’t know exactly where I fit? I have a deep passion for the church, God’s people, but when it comes to the institution–the day in and day out goings of a geographical place/building and people–I soemtimes feel really “out of it.”

I, like Donald, feel a calling to be an “ideas” person and articulate some of the human experience. I lead out of this and my positioning in the Kingdom is becoming clearer. I want to help people get more in touch with their souls so they can lead from that place and sustain their call wherever it is. Interestingly enough though, I still don’t know how this plays out in day to day church, or at least the way it’s been defined?

Sure I’ve felt some guilt. Tried to find a place to fit. But as I’ve been wrestling with this more and more I’ve often wondered, “Could it be that this because we are in the midst of a Great Reformation? Are these some of the symptoms?”

And you know what? In my heart I’ve landed that we are in a reformation….I’m curious what do you guys think?

Another thing to add to the pot is rethinking the way we’ve done church. A good friend of mine shared with me about a book he read THE SHAPING OF THINGS TO COME It’s a whole sociological and biblical take on church. Why have we made it about listening to only one person, or a handful of peoples ideas instead of a communal experience and living organism? A place where a pastor shepherds, an intercessor prays and shares, a prophet warns and illuminates, an exhorter calls people forth, a servant ignites passion to serve people hands on with truth, grace, and justice….where each person offers out of the Spirit living and breathing in them? Maybe what God is trying to say to us, shepherd us in, and call forth in us individually and communally would ignite more quickly? And we’d leave more filled.

Contemplating such things and experimenting with them in small groups have both inspired me and freaked me out. What I’m left pondering is…how do we need to reshape church? How can we facilitate more environments so everyone plays a part? Creating space where we actively look to each member to offer us their part. And how does this change the way we do church, think about church, and offer church?

What do you think? What do you long for, for the the church? Seeking friends, what closes you off about the church?

Join the conversation in my comments and/or Donald's Blog

p.s. after posting this I went on a walk and thought about all the lovely leaders and people I know in church who are "doing church" in such a beautifully diverse way. there really is no one way. like the church i attend now that is really seeking to open up the whole body to offering out of their gifts and talents. but i think it's good to long for more and engage the conversation. but when it's all said and done we are all just people, learning, and hopefully being stretched again and again to consider and reconsider the way we "do life together."


Robyn said...

I have long felt that the church has been slow to respond to the idea that people learn in different ways. Leaders and pastors have not done much to examine ways that they might teach differently in response to people's various learning styles and strengths. I find it difficult these days to sit in a straight pew or chair and listen to a 40 min sermon. Sitting and just listening to a lecture (aka sermon) is not how I learn. For me, true learning requires some level of discussion. Anyways. I did go to a church at one point that experimented with this kind of interactive model. They put different kinds of worship "zones" in their gym and you could experience them at your own pace in your own time. I know it took a lot of work to pull that off, but I definitely remember the experience.

Thanks for sharing! :)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I like a short pithy sermon but prefer quiet times and opportunities to learn and worship in so many varied ways too. A sermon does bring the congregation back
to a central point or focus- like the center of a larger
wheel with many outer spokes.