I’m Dreaming Of a Church…

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I’m dreaming of a church that is:

1. Open to others. Not a fort against the world, but a thanksgiving table with an open seat for anyone.

2. Expanding the government of heaven. Not trapped in politics — not preaching the values of the religious right or the left, but contending for Christlikeness that is both a higher demand and a lighter burden.

3. An active part and participant in the community extending neighborly generosity and working for the common good and human flourishing.

4. A place of community and conversation. The Sunday service is less school and more family gathering.

5. A place of diversity. Not a church that is primarily led by and for one race, one generation, or one class; but empowers all, because the Spirit empowers all. A church that reflects the demographics of the entire community but also gives special place and care to the downtrodden and disenfranchised.

6. A church that values the arts and is artistic and creative in worship and in creating a worship space and environment.

7. A church that contends for the presence of God in passionate worship and prayer.

8. An ancient / future faith. A church that values the traditions of the past—that actively incorporates liturgical practices and weekly eucharist—while implementing the opportunities of new media to make mature disciples (people who can hear God’s voice for themselves, and obey it).

What’s your dream?

I’d be interested to know what you think. Do any of these resonate with you?
Even if you choose not to share it here, I encourage you to dream away. And then pray about the things that God is speaking to your heart.

Have fun!

3 Ways Our Understanding of Church as Family is Wrong

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There is great power in our metaphors. The words we use to think about things shapes what we do.

In many of the circles I move in, there is a growing resistance to referring to the church as a business. I’m not opposed to that; however, it is one thing to deconstruct a failed model, it is another to be able to explain and point to the correct model.

I believe family is the God-ordained model, but family is the correct metaphor for church only to the degree that we have a correct view of family. I have a few caveats before we jump in with both feet.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

Better Than Excellence

Excellence is taking a hit. In my opinion, it’s a cruel task master and more and more people are noticing. The correction is a necessary one. Anytime we are using people to build church, we’re upside down. In the Kingdom of God, we don’t tap into people like batteries and discard them after using them up. Many techs I know have been burned by churches who seemed to have had that attitude.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

The Business of Church Part 4

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All of us appreciate visionary leadership, and we have all been greatly affected by it. Whether our visionary leaders are historic figures, great authors, caring teachers, parents, or bosses; we appreciate someone who exposes us to a better, new way of living. In the classic example, they tell us, “You can’t stay here. There’s something better available. Here’s how things could be. This is who you can become.”

This seems obvious to me: if you are not calling people to something different, you aren’t leading. In a word, leadership is change. Strategy is important. It tells us how we are going to get there, but fundamentally, visionary leadership always includes change.

If leadership is change, the greatest most important leadership lesson, then, is to create an environment where change is expected and embraced as natural. Would any of us describe the average church this way? From updating decor to outdated programs, the last words we would use to describe church is expecting and embracing change.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.