In my years as a pastor I have often spoken of a seminary class that radically altered the way I think about church. The class was the catalyst for my passion to do church in a way that pleases God. It helped me to see that the best approach to church isn’t following a man made path, even if it has been highly successful for someone else. Instead, the class moved me to desperately want to create a ministry model based on the will and ways of God. This isn’t to say that there is a perfect model or that examining different church models is bad, but rather it is to say that our aim should be first and foremost obedience to God. I’m so grateful that I took this class.
Near the end of that class , after the professor had laid obedience to God as the foundation for a great church, he had us take time to make a list of characteristics we would want in the “perfect church.” This is an activity that I ask people to do near the end of our Connection Course (which also lays obedience to God as the foundation for a great church). We do this just before we ask people to commit to fulfilling their God-given responsibilities to the church. My hope is that by the time we come to this part of the Connection Course, people will value different things in church than they did at the beginning. But nonetheless, I think people assume we are having them create the list in order to obtain their opinions on what we should do differently at Creekside. However, we never even look at people’s lists. Instead, I tell the group, “I’m sure your list is great. It is now your responsibility to help our church become all that you want it to be and more.”
The sad reality is that the consumer mentality of Americans causes most people to look for a “perfect church” rather than helping a church become more like God wants it to be. I hope this isn’t the case for you.
I encourage you to take a few minutes and make a list of what you believe God would desire in the “perfect church” (maybe even open a Bible to see what it says about church). Then, help your church take on more of the attributes on your list.
I would love it if you would share your list in the comments below. Here is mine (as written in the aforementioned class):
“A CHURCH I WANT TO BE AT (BRAINSTORM)…
– People enjoy community
– People expect God to transform
– Evidence of God transforming
– Willingness to adapt/take risks/fail
* Culture is being engaged
– Proclamation of Gospel/Truth
– People using their spiritual gifts in unity
– Guided by Holy Spirit through prayer
– Other churches
– More Christians
– Focus on global kingdom of God
– Community transformation (Ministry – meeting needs)
– A good reputation in the community
– They know you have community’s best interest at heart and not your own
– Bigger focus than the institution or organization
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