Pastor's Blog

For the past three months I’ve been looking at the same idea, each week from a slightly different angle:  the church as a loving body being crucial to reaching others for Christ.

When people come to Christ, they are not just coming to Christ.  They are changing their view of the world.  They don’t change the whole thing at once, but an initial conversion is a radical change in one’s overall understanding.*

*(Or should be.  I have contended elsewhere and often that the message of Jesus has been diluted into a mere self-absorbed concern over one’s eternal destiny, so I will not use any precious space on that here.)

That change in world view is difficult to maintain in isolation and the biblical pattern has always been that one becomes a part of a people – a group – that instructs, encourages, rebukes, and reinforces that new outlook on the world.

When you come to Christ, it is inevitable that you are coming to His people as well.

The trend in evangelicalism ever since I have been a pastor is to take leadership and administrative cues from American business.  Structure and organize the church like a business.  Develop a mission statement.  Develop five-year plans.  Be streamlined, sleek, and efficient.

Maybe God leads some pastors to organize that way – and may the Spirit bless their efforts.  I’ve never quite fit with that approach and have resisted it for several reasons, chief among them being that the downside of corporate America is its tendency to use people as means to an end.  The focus is the creation of a product or service at a profit – which is fine – but people are tools, machines to that end.

God’s end is people, souls, character, and love cultivated among souls.

Though I don’t know if anyone has ever written a book about it, my own approach has been to try to lead, when we were small, as a family; now that we are larger, I think a better way to see it is as a small town (or a village).

Towns are only organized to the extent that they need to be.  Certain parts of the infrastructure – the roads, the sewers, maybe a park used for common enjoyment of all, and some security issues – are managed centrally with a little more precision, but on the whole, a small town is decentralized.  Homes organize as they wish.  Circles of friends connect as they wish.  Maybe every now and then a whole neighborhood closes off a street and has a block party.

The mayor and the town council aren’t micromanaging your life.  They’re trying to create a general atmosphere in which you are able to live and pursue your interests.  Or maybe you and a few friends do something together that you enjoy.

YOU take the leadership and decide what you want to pursue.  The mayor and the town council are there to manage potential scheduling conflicts or other conflicts of interest and maintain peace and order.

Small towns are greatly decentralized.
The personality and character of the town are determined, not as much by the mayor and town council as by the citizens and what they like to do.  They do it and engage those that share the interest.  That might not include the entire town -- and that’s perfectly all right!

If you want a picture of how I think the church should work, the “small town” might be helpful to you.  At least for where we are now.

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