It's been a busy two weeks for me, and everything in me wants to go to bed right now, but there is work to be done. Well, there is a Memo to be written, and that is hardly work, so let's get at it, for the sooner I finish the sooner I can go to bed.
I continue this week with our series from my book, Changing the Way We Do Church: 7 Steps to a Purposeful Reformation. This week we look at the sixth step, but if you need to catch up with the previous five, you can do so here.The sixth step is this:
Move from fads, copycat programs, and trite and worn out rituals, traditions and doctrines to innovative initiatives in the Spirit of (but exceeding the results of) the early church.
The church of Jesus should be the most innovative entity on the face of the earth. Think of it: We have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us release creativity, gifts and purpose, yet for the most part, we do what we have always done, consequently, we get what we have always gotten. Now, there is nothing wrong with having good church when the people assemble. But 'good church' should only be part of our repertoire and not the only item on our spiritual menu.
The church is facing problems unique to the 21st century. Granted, the needs of people remain the same since the time of Christ, but the challenges are new every generation. How are our churches using the Internet to broadcast and publish the good news, testimonies and prayer needs and answers? What new programs in the neighborhoods where our churches are located are we initiating to meet felt needs of the residents? What new titles do our staff and volunteers carry, titles that describe who they are and what they do (how about a pastor for public service, a hospitality pastor, or a chief empowerment officer instead of the title 'pastor?)?
Churches, leaders and the people who attend need a fresh vision of their own, not ones borrowed from someone else or some other work. Those become Saul's armor, fitting someone else perfectly but a total misfit for the borrower. What will help this process along? Why, purpose will of course! When the Spirit moves on the hearts of the people, He will stir up creativity and innovation and the Body should then be listening to and experimenting with those stirrings.
Everywhere I go, people lament that younger people are not attending church, yet everywhere I go, churches keep doing pretty much the same things. Many hope that a supernatural revival will come and save the day - maybe it will and I pray God will send one soon. But Isn't it time that we did what the church in Acts did, and that's address new problems and challenges in new Spirit-led ways?
This entire series, and my book, is my appeal to incorporate the dynamics of purpose in the life of the modern church. Let's regain our edge by doing what God has always done well: Direct the creativity of His people to astonish those in and out of the church with God's creative love. Let's reform the church and while you are at it, have a blessed week!
KENYA UPDATES: You can read in this week's update what Pastors Peter and Francis are doing to try and generate revenue for their people's needs [an example is pictured left]. Once you have read, please invest in their work and help us provide markets for their products. You can give to their needs and work through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your help!