The concept of "doing things differently" is not popular in most churches, in fact it is bordering on the heretical. Anyone attempting to launch out into Church planting Movements, or having a stab at Training4Trainers will quickly realise that this approach demands a fairly significant shift in thoughts and actions. Even this is a process which can be implemented as given, but the key I suspect will be the small but significant tweaks which will be made according to the individual context.
The little churches we have planted are full of keen, enthusiastic and excited-about-Jesus people; thrilled to be meeting every week to be trained so that they can share with others, and loving every minute of our times together. We are around eight weeks in, so in my typical orderly fashion I would expect us to be reaching week eight in the training manual, or at least week seven, and surely week six. Reality - week four, two, and "haven't actually got the initial stuff straight yet"!
There seem to be two main reasons. Some people simply live chaotic, drama-filled lives, so the chance of doing anything with a large degree of regularity is fairly remote.For others, especially those of Maori or Pacific Island backgrounds, family takes priority - and frequently we turn up for a group to find other people there before us!
So, we have a problem - every Tuesday at 3.30pm may not work - so how do we learn to do things differently? Well perhaps we start by seeing not a problem, but an opportunity - how can the love and life of Jesus flow into the chaos of some people's lives, bringing not an orderliness which would alienate our new friends from their community, but rather a sense of the presence of Jesus in the midst of the storm? How do Jesus' new followers introduce him into the hospital, family dispute, drunken brawl or the latest local tragedy? And can we view the "invading" family not as a rival or competition for group time, but as a great way for people to share their own and God's stories naturally?
We have much to learn, and I think that is how it is going to be for a long, long time!
Cherish them while you can
1 week ago