Monday, August 27, 2007

My Heart

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Lately my heart has been aching. I'll be honest with you and diverge a little from my usual look at mission. My heart has been aching for the lost. We worshipped at Packenham lately and I cried so hard for those that don't know Jesus. We worshipped at Werribee recently and again I wept like a baby, thinking of the enormous job we have of reaching the multitudes.

I contemplate too much recently about my lack of involvement in reaching the masses. My life cries out to do something of significance. I find myself a fish in a tiny fishbowl, with little room to swim. I'm not attempting to critique those at College. I love the staff, and the cadets and everyone is working so hard to make things right...

But something needs to change for me. Maybe it's simply my attitude. Maybe it's more. Maybe my passion for meaningful engagement in ministry is greater than my passion for interpreting the book of Nehemiah. Although maybe this is deep, important theological content that I need in order to be effective for Jesus. Maybe God doesn't care.

My heart yearns for the lost. I take the opportunities when I find them. Or when I find time. My life seems so meaningless (I feel like the writer or Ecclesiastes), yet God has a purpose in their somewhere.

This is probably a blog that belongs in the private journal, but would you be inspired to pray for the lost, for those whose lives are broken and hurting? Would you do what you can, when you can, with all that you can in order to reach as many as you can with the message of hope found in Jesus?

Monday, August 20, 2007

How far is too far? Reaching the subcultures

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How far would you go to reach the subcultures in our communities with the gospel of Jesus? Interesting question.

How far can you 'incarnate' the gospel, before you compromise it? At what point does syncretism set in? That is, the gospel message is compromised.

Looking at the provocative picture to the left, we are left wondering, how we would even begin to consider reaching into some cultures; but we need to.

Take for example, a Goth becomes a believer in Jesus. Do we now compel the new Christian to lose the black clothing, and lose the ear pearcings, in order to fit into our established Christian communities? What about the concept that God is light and no darkness is found in him, will we use that as a way to compel the new believer to join our circles and fit in our ranks?

The debate really is about, how far can we incarnate the gospel of Jesus into particular subcultures. My thought would be that we start with our belief/understanding of Jesus (Christology) and with that foundational teaching we are involved in the Mission of God (Missiology) and then our expression of Church will derive itself from that (Ecclesiology).

So if we're trying to reach the goth culture for Jesus, we would understand that Jesus is calling people to follow after him, to be a disciple, to leave the life of sin and go into the world and make other disciples. We would understand that Jesus says very little about what clothes to wear. We may even dress like a goth and connect with the goths in this way (knowing that our belief in Jesus is not compromised simply because we are wearing a different set of clothes). Goths start to follow Jesus and then a Church is established in this subculture, in which Goths can continue to be Goths, but be passionate for Jesus, passionate about holiness and passionate about the great commission.

Interesting thoughts. Am I pushing it too far? Let us know your thoughts.

Nonetheless, we must ask the difficult questions of how to ensure the gospel message is relevant today to each generation and subculture.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Church Planting/Corps Planting

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What a busy, exciting week I've had. Jo and I attended a Church Planting Conference, with guest speaker Stuart Murray, whose written numerous books, such as, 'Church Planting', 'Post Christendom' and more.

The content was helpful and interesting. We talked a little about the essentials for a church... Have a look at the limited list below and comment on which you think are absolutely essential for a Church, and are non negotiable...

* Church Building
* Prayer
* Timbrels
* Contemporary Band
* Food
* Bible exploration/study
* Soldiership
* Teaching the gospel
* Doctrinal beliefs

Which do think are negotiable? Which are absolutely non negotiable for a church?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

When is enough, enough?

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How long do you continue to pour resources into a church that won't budge, nor grow, nor change? How long do you care before you crack? How much time do you invest before the time is up? Do we continue to love and support and pamper, because we are simply a local church where 'God is love' and there is no condemnation or judgement?

These are questions I was wondering with a friend last night. If a church is unwilling to change and do what is necessary to reach the lost, be involved in mission, help the needy, etc, when is enough, enough?

Our desire is to go into all the world and make disciples. Should we close corps that are disobedient? What about closing corps that never grow, and always have the same people, week after week and never do any practical mission?

What are the effective ways of helping soldiers to see the bigger picture, to think outside the square and to reach outside the world in which they currently live?

Lots of questions at the moment... But here's my big one... Do we appoint good officers to lousy corps, or allow good officers to create new expressions of Salvation Army ministry?

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