Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Three good/dangerous things that keep people committed to the church

A woman gave a fascinating lecture in one of my classes last week at Denver Seminary. She commented that usually 1 0f three different things keep people committed to the church:

1) Community - Some people are passionate about relationships. Church is all about people, both inside and outside the church. All resources should go to people and the focus must stay on the people and the development of stronger relationships.
2) Cause - Some people are passionate about what the church does. Whether it be local evangelism, feeding the poor, or missions around the world, these people stay committed to the church in order for their cause to be furthered.
3) Corporation - Some people are passionate about the church as an institution. Its growth and survival must be maintained at all cost.

None of these are necessarily "more holy" than the others, but let me give a few precautionary words to each type of person.

1) If you are all about the community of the church, beware that the cause and corporation people might not think you are doing anything. Some folks care more about tasks than people, and sometimes they think community-focused people are a bit too touchy-feely. Also, sometimes relationships will need to be challenged and/or severed in order to stay faithful to gospel and kingdom-minded living.
2) If you are all about the cause/s of the church, realize that not everyone in the church is going to get excited as you are. They might not want to spend as much money, time, or effort into the same project/s you do. Also, when the church leaders don't put as much attention on what may be seen as your pet-project, don't react negatively by criticizing the leaders or abandoning the church. God just may have placed these leaders into your life to guide you to greener pastures.
3) If you are a corporation person, realize that not all institutions are forever. Or at least realize that no institution will stay the same over a number of years. No major corporation that is thriving in the 21st century is till doing business practices from the 1950s, 70s or even the 90s. Sometimes it would be better for God's work to continue for the institution to die as you know it. Also, churches do not exist just to exist. It is about people and it is about causes. If this is forgotten, the gospel has been abandoned and the church has become inward focused.

In other words, we need each other. Our different passions are what make the church beautiful.

how about you? what type of person are you? and would you add other precautionary words to each of us?

Be kind . . . remember we are to build up, not tear down (Eph. 4:29)!!


Shane Vander Hart said...

I was hoping that the primary reason would be Jesus. Guess not.

Not that those three things are bad, but they all do have pitfalls like you mentioned.

Somewhat related to this - have you read Christless Christianity by Michael Horton? Just started it, pretty interesting.

Jack said...

All these factors could apply to the Taliban, couldn't they?