Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What Kind of Church Are You Looking For?

I got a haircut yesterday. I got it cut pretty short. Carol likes it so I guess that's all that matters. Anyway I decided to "survey" my barber. I said, "if you were going to go to church, what kind of church would you go to? " He said, "that's a tough question. I haven't been to church for a long time." He said he used to go to church, but stopped going because they were always asking for money.

I told him I asked somebody else that same question the other day. Interestingly enough, he had a similar church experience. He said he was looking for a church where the leadership could be trusted. His wife said she wanted a church that was interested in doing things for people in the community. She also said she wanted a church where the "talk" was rooted in Scripture, but was helpful for her every day life. I know you're not my barber but if I could survey you, what would you say? What kind of church are you looking for?


Aaron said...

It's a good thing I'm not your barber! If you think it's short now.....

Really good question. I've shared with you before how much I appreciate the way my friend Brad has approached his church plant. I continue to be impressed with his simple yet effective mission statement - "Love God, Serve People". His church backs that up with the activity and intentional commitment to reaching the community.

Speaking of community, I would want a lot of that too. Somewhere "to know and be known". I guess if I put it all together, the mission statement for the church would be -
"Love God, Serve people, Know and be Known".

I should market that :)

Carol said...

I love that mission statement, Aaron. It puts first things first and wraps it into a nice package. It seems to reflect Jesus' mission.

Over the last several weeks as we've been visiting various churches, it's been great to step back and evaluate what church is really supposed to be about.

"Love God, Serve people, Know and be Known" is what I'd like my life to reflect.

dennis said...

I agree with both of you. I came across something this morning written by Brenann Manning in his book Ruthless Trust which Carol and I have been trying to read. He said, "our culture says that ruthless competition is the key to success. . .Commenting on the story of the good Samaritan, Thomas Cahill writes, “As we stand now at the entrance to the third millennium since Jesus, we can look back over the horrors of Christian history never doubting for an instant that if Christians had put kindness ahead of devotion to good order, theological correctness, and our own justifications-if we had followed in the humble footsteps of the heretical Samaritan who was willing to wash someone else’s wounds, rather than in the self-regarding steps of the priest and the immaculate steps of the priest and the immaculate steps of the Levite-the world we inhabit would be a very different one.” Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, p. 167 I think the church and christians in particular should be marked by ruthless compassion.

Rob said...

Great comments and good discussion. My concern is...is that this world is a place full of confusion and deception. People today want an all-inclusive love, and churches drive to deliver a psychology-influenced gospel.

Unfortunately, neither are right.

I guess I'd want a church that meets the expectations set in the gospel of Matthew.

Equips: not put people into programs that just keep people "busy"...but are we teaching? are we training? are we involved in works of service? (Eph 4:12).

Edifies: this is where community comes in...Godly fellowship through intimate relationships...not just a social country-club atmosphere of "golf scores & Pampered Chef". (Rom 12:10)

Evangelizes: pure and simple...are we sharing Christ through personal soul-winning and support of missions? (Matt 28: 19-20)

Finally...a church that exalts the Lord through worship and a church that PRAYS!

Aaron said...

You folded the corner on that page didn't you?(Ha-Ha) My poor "Everybody's Normal" book is bent on just about every other page now.

Thanks Carol. I can't take the credit for that. Brad, my friend, deserves that credit. I just borrowed it for the comments :)

Denny - On the note of your quote, check out this series of clips by the always "over the top" Mark Driscoll. http://youtube.com/results?search_query=mark+driscoll&search=Search
There's one in there which speaks to your quote directly. Unfortunately, I can't remember which one... There's a bunch of short interviews with him there. He's always good for a laugh/gut check/pulse of tough reality.

Like my mom used to say. "Take what you think applies, throw the rest away" :)

clayburkle said...

I think your comment qualifies as another post. But good stuff.

Rob... I like your additions. You must be a preacher with the E-literation. Question on Evangelism? Are you talking more Charles Finney or Leslie Newbigin? I guess it depends on what your definition of gospel (evangel) is?

Rob said...

Clay - Honestly, probably neither.

Leslie Newbigin: isn't Leslie big on "ecumencial" inclusion? We shouldn't be naive to think that all believe the same concerning Christ.

Chuck Finney: first thought is "easy believism"...raise your hand, walk down the aisle, count the numbers, report on who's saved. Finney later said that if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn't have preached the doctrine of salvation without the doctrine of santification.

So - I'm thinking more along the lines of John MacArthur.

Although, I am a big tele-evangelist fan and still morning the passing of one Tammy Faye!

Brent said...

Hey Denny - nice to see you in E print form! As I have been thinking around this very issue I have some questions for people to comment on.

Jesus was known as a friend to drunkards and "sinners" and was even accused of being a drunkard and glutton. He met with people where they were yet He was without sin. We have a society of homosexuals, drunkards, broken families, and other various addictive and sinful behaviour and yet the last place most people would go is to church.

I have a sister and neighbors (homosexual) that we relate to on a regular basis and yet it is difficult to invite them to a church that has nothing for them but repent now or you are going to hell (true but timing is questionable).

Jesus is calling these people to the Father and yet where is the church that ministers to them and yet is faithful to scripture. Liberal churches tell people there is more than 1 way to God and conservative churches say there is only 1 pathway to God - follow these rules on this timeline etc.

As a person who is, as Dennis Jergensun said, healed and being healed from addictive behavior, I find the corporate church to be out of touch with the Fathers heart. It has an appearance of godliness, but the underbelly is not too good. It has many programs, but little effectiveness. It allows for more whitewashed tombs to be bred and spread until all that is left is dead.

I really feel that God is calling his Bride (true chuch) to Him and that the corporate church will be left out in the cold. I see it in believers all around me allowing God to really change them, deepen them and prepare them. The Holy Spirit is working in them just like Jesus said he would.

So the questions I have for the blogisphere is: Do you struggle with the same things? Do you sense that God is fundamentally changing things in a BIG way? What is God doing in your life to prepare you for ?

Anonymous said...

This is Ken (Neff). I find it very interesting that Aaron's mission statement is 3 parts what I do and 1 part what others do.

My relationship with Jesus is very much up to me (after establishment - forgivenss). My relationship with fellow believers is very much up to me. My interaction with non believers is very much up to me.

I wonder if the "mission statement" could be annotated to be I WILL Know God, I WILL Love God. I WILL Know my self and allow my self to be known. I WILL Know people and serve people. Probably in that sequence as far as priority goes.

I get baffled by God's patience and commitment not to step on our will. He waits for us to choose to act.

The kind of church I am looking for isn't a building or a corporation or a doctrine or a philisophical fellowship. It is a group of willing people who want to know, to be known, to love (self sacrifice for the good of another), and willing to serve God first, themselves, their families, the brotherhood (sisterhood) of believers, and those disconnected from God (non believers). In that order.

Carol said...

Hey, Ken Neff. Good stuff! And you said you hated blogs.

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. I could pontificate for hours on the topic... I wonder if the question could be "what kind of church are you helping to shape?"

I tend to see churches in two ways, the "come and see church" and the "go and be church." The first is the church that wants everything to happen at their building, so they wait for people to show up before ministry starts and if an unbeliever happens to drop in that's fine. The second, understands that the world around us doesn't trust "Christians" (a term I've come to dislike) and takes ministry to them in everyday, ordinary day ways.

I'm in on the second.

Thanks for the site, you raise thought provoking questions!