Bible Think Tank

This site is designed to help you interact with others about God's Word. I further some thoughts we developed during morning and evening gatherings at church. I have my NT translations from the original Greek to English. Also, I have book reviews and other current events.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Relevant Church

a re-review of "The Relevant Church: A New Vision For Communities Of Faith" by various authors.

I've had this book for a while, but I just recently picked it up again and read from a few selections. Essentially, each chapter is written by people in the trenches doing ministry in unique ways. It is not so much the methodology that is unique as it is the philosophical underpinnings (which drive methodlogy) that makes this book and the approaches in it a challenging, refreshing, essential tool in the transitioning society we find ourselves in.

I'd like to interact in this post with a paragraph in the chapter written by Dustin Bagby, a pastor at Mosaic in Manhattan, NY. He writes:

Unfortunately, many people who have grown up in church were taught to avoid culture at all costs. They were taught that we need to form an enviornment
in which to live and then invite other people to join. the problem is that the people who we are inviting to join are not coming. Now it is time to go 'out there' and meet them. I find that most of Jesus; teachings are about going and harvesting. I hear very little about sitting back at an event and hoping people who are not followers will attend. Jesus always went to where the people in need were.

Week after week, we pray for God to bring visitors to our church and that rarely happens. The time is over for churches to expect the unchurched to pop in to find God. They are finding what they think is meaning elsewhere. Certainly, what they are finding will not satisfy long because only Jesus can fill their deepest longings. But too many generations have separated the lost from churches. It was subtle in the beginning... devoted Christians would take kids to church, but those kids didn't find it relevant so they bowed out until those kids had kids of their own. Then when they had kids, they took their kids to Sunday School and maybe morning worship. Then that new crop of kids bowed out with mom and dad when they were too old for Sunday School to hold their affections. By the time those kids had kids of their own, maybe they'd drop off the new generation of kids at Sunday school or maybe grandparents would take the grandkids. What we face now is that twenty-somethings and thirtysomethings are having kids but never consider church as any kind of option because the fact is, they never went themselves as kids. Higher and higher percentages of the younger two generations have little or no church experience.

And so when we today within the church pray for people to come and wonder why our prayers go unanswered, God is conversely wondering (Antrhopomorphism... God can't wonder, He is omniscient) how long it will take for us to figure out that the lost are just that: LOST. They can't find us, they don't know that they need us, it isn't they reject Jesus but rather that they've never heard there was a Jesus.

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Blogger Steve said...

I just found your blog site. Can't wait to read it on a regular basis. I would like to pick up this book. A friend and I were talking the other day and he said something along the lines of "what effect would there be if the BFC of Newark were to close down?" The insinuation was that there probably wouldn't be much. In fact another freind said that it wouldn't have much affect on him because his relationship with Jesus would not be affected. The point was this, there are so many evangelical churches in the area that most of the congregation would be absorbed by these churches. The problem is our church should be having an impact in the community to the point if we were to close down then the community would feel the impact of that closing. Hence we need to figure out how to get out into the community, serve the community, and to be a light in the world - not just the Christian community. In fact just the other day, I invited a guy from another softball team to come to church and he said that he would be uncomfortable going to church. I would venture to say that's how probably most 20 to 30 somethings feel about going to church. A little uncomfoirtable.

6/02/2008 1:31 PM  

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