Dream Church

Apart from marrying the man of my prayers and having children, the most prominent thoughts that meander through my head are about the Church. What kind of church or local fellowship do I dream of and see being used in today’s cultural matrix?

The centrality and reality of the Incarnation and Cross of Jesus Christ must permeate every fiber of my being as a believer, leader, and visioneer. This means that preaching and teaching topics will have a focus: the glorification and worship of God. A few years ago, it finally dawned upon me that the best way for the Christ follower and the church to make disciples was to be disciples in their midst. Bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ without the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ is a sham. Leaders especially need to focus as much on followership as we do leadership. As we do that, the presence of the Living Christ will work through us and draw people to the Cross.
 The centrality and reality of the Incarnation and Cross of Jesus Christ must also define and empower the very life of our church. Without the presence of Jesus driving us and the Word of God as our foundation, we are nothing more than a country club dressed up in religious jargon. That is no way to live.
 Live simple, not ascetically or extravagantly but simply. That means we won’t be teaching people how to “get wealth? and try to put a Christian spin on it to make it more doctrinally palatable. I believe in living simply and will seek to both model and teach this approach faithfully because I believe it is biblical and makes our lives a lot easier and less stressful on some levels. That God wants us to lived blessed lives is biblical only so far as it allows Him to define what “blessed? is.
 There are NO “Lone Rangers? in ministry. Pastors and elders will work together to govern the church of Jesus as God has ordained in His holy word. In addition, those in the five-fold ministry are called by the Spirit to equip the saints for ministry. We will not be killing ourselves doing everything while gifts and talents rot in the pews and stink up the joint.
 Intercessory prayer is an absolute necessity–for the entire community. Prayer for our leaders and their families as well as one another is key. But there is something else. Pray for your city. God is going to set the city on fire with His Spirit. What will we do to be a part of that? We must understand our city and present the truth of Jesus and His Word in ways that are relevant for where the people of our community are. It is such a diverse place that we might—no we WILL struggle initially to define exactly who we are to go after. But God will sharpen our vision
 GIVE, GIVE, GIVE! We need to support other churches as best we can. The spirit of giving and not hording must reign so that the kingdom of God and the gospel of Christ are spread to the entire world.
 The building is not the church; the people who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are the Church. Meeting places are fine but when you spend more money building multiplexes instead of people and the work of ministry, then there is a problem. Part of me fantasizes about having a mobile format where you drive a bus into a neighborhood, pitch a tent, and preach. Talk to the people. I would always think about that when I was living in Washington DC. And offer the folks some food while I’m at it!
 De-emphasis on altar-driven evangelism and more lifestyle. I believe that one of the worst things to happen in the last one hundred years of the Church is the obsession with and focus on “altar calls? similar to those that you would see at evangelistic crusades. While I have no problem giving anyone the opportunity to come forward during a service, there must be a lifestyle of bringing Christ to men and women just the way the early church did. That is really one of the main reasons why the church grew so quickly; they didn’t wait until synagogue meetings to compel people to Christ. They lived the message everyday in the workplace and in their neighborhoods.
 The ultimate aim of the assembling of ourselves together is to glorify God. Glorifying God involves an experience where everything—preaching, singing, prayer, giving, call to discipleship—-honors God as subject and object.
 All the gifts of the Spirit are welcomed and embraced. It’s pretty scary to tell the Holy Spirit which gifts we champion the most and not hinder His work among believers and in the world. The bottom line is that we need ALL that is available to us in Christ to mature in Him and to fulfill the Great Commission.

Reclaim the arts for the kingdom. My New Testament professor required a creative response for every exegetical paper he assigned. With literary leanings of my own, I normally wrote a poem at the end. Why can free stylers (a rapper) free style for Jesus during a worship gathering? No good reason. I dream of being able to reenact or re-present the stories of Jesus in play form. I also dream of reading through the Scriptures publicly using Eugene Peterson’s The Message. It lends itself to dramatic presentation and it’s easily understandable.
 We need to kill the seeker sensitive versus traditional arguments for “doing church.? We are asking the wrong damn question. The question is not whether churches are seeker-sensitive but whether Christ-followers themselves are seeking seekers. Get that straight and you’ll cut half the dialogical bull trying to pass itself off as authentic ecclesiology.

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