In regard to church futures, the question is: "What does God want?" and "How will we sharpen our spiritual hearing so we will do what He wants?" We must bow to Him only in everything. Practical plans are needed, but only after we have heard from God about what He wants. ...Otherwise we are considering ourselves to be just one more human organization.In the fall of 2013, and continuing into the spring of 2014, several brothers and sisters from our local church ministry had been getting together as a "Church Study Group" to consider what it is that God is calling us to "look like" as a church. In the bottom half of this post you'll find a handout that we used last spring.
I recall this now because certain practical considerations are bringing the question of what God is calling us to be and do to the surface once more. Last night I pulled out the book Reimagining Church -- NOT because I believe everything Frank Viola says in it are good or correct, but because I think the book does a good job of opening up QUESTIONS like the ones below for us to consider.
The quote at the TOP of this page comes from something I had written earlier this week. It strikes me now, this morning, that there are times when practical matters can lead us to do spiritual work that perhaps we have been avoiding in the rush and hurry of life.
Though it is the spiritual, that is, the voice of God, that needs to lead the practical in decision making, there are times when the practical can lead us to considering spiritual things. Examples of this is when sickness leads us to consider lifestyle questions that we may be ignoring, or when financial difficulties lead us to examine and change our ways of spending money.
Let's praise God for EVERYTHING, including the challenges we face. God will not leave us, but He may want to lead us into something new. He IS our Good Shepherd. We shall not be left in "want," that is, lacking what is needed, but we must heed his voice.
During our church study group's work we read only the first half of Reimagining Church. The second half has to do with leadership an the question of what a "pastor" might be according to scripture. You can read my Nov. 2013 reflection on that question at this link.
As I recall, I think I agreed, as a whole, in what Frank Viola wrote about the "pastoral" role. What will God be leading us to in regard to THAT question in the weeks and months to come? Let's consider with lots of prayer! We will NEVER be afraid.
(You might be interested in a blogpost from January 2014 entitled "Scattered Thoughts on Togetherness.")