As I write this at Cherry Grove Beach, SC, 9/6/08, 1:30am, hurricane/tropical storm Hanna is in full force. Strong wind and sideways rain. Even though it is dark outside, I know the big waves are coming in and crashing on the beach and over the dunes. It is very much like the waves of discontent I am starting to see form and break on the beach of the traditional model of church. I see a growing number of people rejecting the pastor-centric model of churches where people are treated primarily as an audience and warm-bodies to fill the positions of church-focused ministries.
- I see a growing number of people who believe that God has created them unique in His creation, to live out a purpose to which He has called and prepared them, and who reject a church model that does not allow them to fulfill these purposes.
- I see a growing discontent with churches that cocoon and run from the world and from the people that God created. Love engages.
- I see the growing discontent among “non-clergy” leaders, who have been underutilized, rejected, restricted and even ridiculed, because they are told that they are not qualified to lead like those who are “called” to be the clergy.
- I see a growing number of people who believe that worship of God is when we fulfill His purposes, and not merely a gathering to sing praises and hear a sermon.
- I see a growing number of people who want their lives to help create the culture Jesus described in His teaching – serving the poor and needy, the sick and imprisoned, the marginalized and outcasts, the lonely and disadvantaged.
- I see a growing number of people who believe that we are all in “full-time” service as ministers, missionaries and priests. There is no “part-time” work in the kingdom of God.
- I see a growing number of people who believe that the kingdom of God is not only in the future, but is here and now. It is wherever the children of God are fulfilling God purposes and living out the culture taught by Jesus.
- I see a growing number of people who understand that God has allowed everyone to suffer from being incomplete and flawed, so they can understand their own great need for a Savior, even after they become followers of Jesus. What we refer to as “Recovery ministry” is not just for “those really screwed-up people” but it is for everyone. The church is for those who need a healer. Praise God for our infirmities and the holes in our lives that only He can fill and heal.
And that’s all I have to say about that…. Dale