church journey

living with the last chapter in mind

Some additional thoughts along the same vein as “entrepreneurial energy” after seeing books coming out from the simple church crowd about getting churches to multiply faster with the small, “micro-church” model:

The foundational idea of the multiplication drive, to grow the kingdom of God quickly, is flawed and dangerous. It quickly puts you right back into the seat of today’s traditional church model, and living a script for which there is “no Holy Spirit required” where it becomes all about what man or woman has the clever ideas to carry the day. This church growth energy is not seen cultivated among the new testament followers. There is no scriptural support for thinking that faith in Christ “should be” happening in people at any particular pace, fast or slow. But it’s what the Holy Spirit empowers for any particular time, place, people. It’s not so much that we’ve come to a wrong answer here, but rather a case of asking the wrong question. For example, can you imagine Peter or Paul saying, “how can we get these church groups multiplying faster?” But in the NT we see Christ himself initiating, leading his followers moment by moment. Too often today we are still thinking we need to scheme on how to do his work – watch out that we don’t find ourselves beginning in the Spirit and trying to finish in the flesh. There is great danger in the simple church ranks in seeing all that is happening as a “green field” of opportunity to run with human cleverness among ranks used to working with it. When we dig down to the root of that drive, I have found it to be the flesh, not the Lord. We must be wise today so as to truly find and hold the path of the Spirit-led life, dependent upon his moment by moment leading, and not fall into the scripted paths of man’s wisdom.

With all the “re-thinking” that God is stirring up in the church today, it presents an incredible opportunity, for all who will see it, to abandon the cleverness of man (do we really think we’re expediting the work of God?) and put a renewed priority on hearing and obeying him alone. Apart from him we can do nothing, right? Let’s test the spirit behind the behavior patterns we so easily fall into, and find out what will happen if together, as his bride, we learn anew how to follow the voice of Jesus. Even though we start with baby steps. Even if it takes years to unlearn/relearn. Even though we don’t see the immediate results we’ve come to expect in our fast-food, microwave, instant-gratification oriented society. The alternative is that we keep bumbling down the road of flesh effort, never progressing to the spiritual maturity he desires. We don’t find out how he squares up our obedience till the final chapter.

(My thanks to Chuck for his help fine tuning this post)