First Pam Hogeweide has an article recently published at Off-the-Map entitle "Why Does Church Feel Empty?" Pam is an excellent writer and has left many thought-provoking comments here. From her article:
There is a growing awareness that church is not about a place or a building. The perception of many believers I’ve talked with is that American Christians have mastered going to church rather than being the church.
she’s decided, “to move forward in being what I want to see…”
The latest edition of Next-Wave includes an article by Neil Cole about Organic Church.
“A” is apostolic mission. Even the Nicene Creed says the church is holy and apostolic. It’s meant to be sent. It’s more like Jesus said, “The Father has sent me, so send I you.” So apostolic means that the church is a “sent” agency not a “sending agency.” We are ourselves going on mission.Probably more controversial:
Most churches in the West set up shop in a location and they tell the world to come to them, that’s not being apostolic. So we want to be decentralized. We don’t want to be bound to a location. We want to be planting the seeds of the Kingdom among the lost people. We are sent.
But, unfortunately, much of the way we do finances in the church is patterned after an Old Testament model, whether we want to accept that premise or not. The Temple and the Priesthood needed support. So God established a tithing system, a form of taxation, to support those institutions. The New Testament doesn’t have that.
In the New Testament, the principle is generous, cheerful giving. Not to support any institution, but to help people in need, to release people for ministry, but not necessarily a career.
From the always-inspiring blog of John Frye, a post called Jesus the Radically Serving Pastor:
Matters of truest origin and promised destiny shape servants. Servants have an identity so secure in the Father's love and purpose that a towel and basin and dirty feet can't threaten them.
Some have egos so big they can't stoop anymore. Dirty feet are an assault on their clean Christian identity. They have more royal things to do like judging who qualifies to be loved and liked by them. Usually it's others just like them. The old "birds of a feather" thing. Serving crimps their style, soils their power. It takes a lot of energy to keep jockeying for lead position.
Servants, on the other hand, are free. Secure in their origin. They're here only because of God. They anticipate an unspeakably glorious future. The love of God their Father allows them to maneuver up and down the social scale, serving whoever before them is in need.
And finally, if you're looking for reasons to ditch the whole emerging deal, read Michael Lee's post. Be sure to click on the links as you read, especially in point #1.
Instead of being at home in the mechanistic formalism of the International Style, the ECM has whole-heartedly embraced a return to wit, ornament, and irony.