Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Terminology or Transformation

After listening to Bishop Miller preach at Affecting Destiny 09 in Oklahoma City, I just HAD to repost Perry Noble's post from yesterday... as Bishop said, and Perry implies... I know who I am in Christ and no one function will ever define who I am in HIM!

I would encourage you to go nightly to the link above and take part in AD 09 in OKC... it WILL bless you and challenge you!

Terminology Or Transformation?

Posted: 17 Mar 2009 04:17 AM PDT

People ask me all of the time, “What kind of church is NewSpring?” (Actually..some don’t ask…they assume to know…they always make us smile!)

Got to be honest…that question BOTHERS me because, well, here in America we like to be able to define things…to label them…to stick them in a category.

But tagging and labeling the church is impossible when it ceases to be obsessed with terminology and begins to desire transformation. A move of God can’t be explained…or defined…or categorized.

So what are we? Dang…I think we are all of the following…

TRADITIONAL - We hold to the traditions of Scripture, we believe the Bible IS the Word of God, that Jesus was born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life, that He took our place on the cross and died for our sins to make us right with God, we believe in His resurrection, we believe in a literal heaven and hell…we believe God is Sovereign and reigns!!!

SEEKER FRIENDLY - It amuses (and saddens) me when people use this as a term to attack the church–what in the heck are we supposed to be–seeker hostile? (Many churches are!!!) We believe people seek God because He draws them to Himself…and when they walk into our church we do try hard to make sure the environment is FRIENDLY! We want people to want to come back…and so we do all that we can, knowing that we will fall short if not for the mercy of God’s grace using our efforts for HIS glory!

EMERGING - (notice the ING!) We believe the churches best days are ahead of her, NOT behind her. We believe that the local church is the greatest possibility for change that exists in the world today. We believe that Acts 2 was ONLY THE BEGINNING of all that God wants to do. And we refuse to worship the past or get caught up in the present…we are HUNGRY for the future and desperate to see the name of JESUS CHRIST take preiminence in HIS CHURCH and the world once again!

MISSIONAL - It blows me away when a church leader defines their church as “missional.” I always want to say, “YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FREAKIN MISSIONAL!!! BUT…remember, the mission is not to organize the group to do nice things for people APART from the Gospel (so they can feel good about themselves!) BUT…rather to fulfill the GREAT COMMISSION by taking the Gospel to the world…beginning in the community in which you are planted. (A church misses the point when it will travel across the ocean to reach people…but won’t go across the street.) We understand that we are called to be a catalyst for change in the communities in which Jesus planted us!
By the way…IF a church is missional it doesn’t need to say that it is…everyone knows!

ATTRACTIONAL - Call us guilty…but we actually think it is a good thing that more and more people want to come back to church. When a restaurant attracts more business people call it successful…when a church does there are actually idiots out there that call it compromise. WOW…could it be we value food more than church? As I said earlier…we do want people to come back…we think the environment should be clean, the kids area should be safe, the music should be done well and expectations should be exceeded–every week!

BTW…exceeding someone’s expectations in church would ISN’T that difficult. The church set the bar so low for so long (and then kept crawling under it) that when people see a church that seems to care about what they do…they are amazed!

PURPOSE DRIVEN - We have a purpose…we want hell to be less crowded because we exist as a church. We want to see marriages restored. We want to see teenagers and children embrace God’s plan for their lives. We want to see addicts set free. We want to see the excluded included. We want to see people escape the pain of their past. We want…well…I could go on and on. We have a purpose…and it’s not to be a country club with a steeple on top that gives our community the middle finger and tells them to go to hell because reaching them would make us uncomfortable!

Folks, I hope you see how silly terminology really is. We are all of these things…and yet we are none of them at the same time. Why don’t we just call ourselves what JESUS called us…THE CHURCH! We are HIS church…we are called to take HIS name to a world that NEEDS HIM.

We need to focus on BECOMING a movement instead of trying to label ourselves as one. Terminology will change…the Gospel will not…and “church” has worked pretty darn good for around 2,000 years. STOP trying to “improve” what God established as essential!

There…rant over…that felt good. I can’t afford therapy…thus one of the reasons I blog! :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"What are we supposed to be - seeker hostile?'


Perry Noble is fast becoming one of my newest heroes...