more on church, since its Sunday

Late last year or early this year (time flies) I read a book called The Unity Factor by Larry Osborne. The book was very good and I recommend it to anyone who is in ministry leadership as a staff or lay person.

Larry had a section in the book where he talked about the differences in leading groups of various sizes and how things change for the leadership team as the church group grows. If I remember correctly (I passed the book on, so I can’t check), he said at the beginning it is like a golf game. Basically a solo activity up to a foursome. Spending a lot of quality time together in leadership activity, fellowshipping, living life together etc.

As the church grows, the leadership becomes more like a basketball team. They have more specialized roles and rely on the other team members to get things done in their area. There is less personal interaction among the team due to the constraints of time and the need to get the job done. But a basketball team still mostly practices and plays together as a complete unit.

At some point the leadership team is more like a football team. There is a high degree of specialization needed to get the job done. Whole units like the offensive line will prepare together and work together to accomplish their task. The time for the whole group to come together and fellowship is extremely limited.

I bring this up, because I just read an article that Steve McCoy pointed me to by Tim Keller called Process Managing Church Growth.

With a juicy title like that, I bet all of you are already over there taking in all 16 pages of goodness. Don’t worry I will wait for you to get back………..

All right. Now here is the question. How does a local church that wants to reach the lost with the gospel and grow as a result thereof avoid the trap of becoming merely a self sustaining machine rounding up other christians from other churches? What do you do in the early stages to build in core values that are God honoring? Chris has a series of questions that he is asking that need to be faced head on by anybody involved in church planting. They are:

1. Are we more focused on our dreams then the gospel’s dreams? More people, big buildings, cool titles, write books, speak at conferences, etc.
2. Are we to scared to take risks and live like Jesus?
3. Dealing with messy people stinks-so maybe we subversively avoid those people and their messes?
4. We really don’t care about the lost and the poor. They become and inconvenience to our daily lives and church rhythms and budgets.
5. Could the one thing that is standing in the way of the gospel be the church of Jesus?

I wonder if we (church) really understand the responsibility we have as partners in the gospel with Jesus? If we fail to use God’s wisdom in a way that focuses on the true essence of the gospel and mission, then we damage the potential of the church and squander the ability to maximize our talents. Are we hiding our talents or multiply them? The Master gave us a ton of responsibility.

All of us should be asking ourselves how our church can both grow through reaching and discipling our neighbors for Christ, while avoiding “mission creep” away from why we started the church. How do we put enough systems in place to be good stewards of the resources with which God entrusts us, without becoming a bureaucratic nightmare?

Just asking the questions.

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3 Responses

  1. digging the blog…nice stuff.

  2. thanks, Chris.

  3. […] here here here here and here for […]

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