They are wonderful people who are excited about what God is doing around them. For our small town, this church of 500 and growing would be considered a megachurch. They have made an impact among the unchurched in our community.
This church has been so effective at bringing people in. I wish there was more of an emphasis on discipling them into living a kingdom life, rather then mentoring them into church service.
Today from Ryan Bolger in Marks of a Missional Church:
1. What are the marks of churches (people) who live missionally?
They no longer see the church service as the primary connecting point with those outside the community. Connecting with those outside happens within the culture, by insiders to that culture who express the gospel through how they live.
2. What is it that keeps a church (people) from thinking missionally?
We have been raised with the idea that much of our life and our responsibilities as Christians are reflected in the weekly church service. It is how we think as Christians in Western cultures where 'going to church' has been an essential part of being a Western citizen. Our context has changed, Christendom is crumbling, but the shift to missional living is a huge shift for Western Christians. It might take the Western church fifty to a hundred years to make the shift, and many won't make the journey. In contrast, those Christians outside the west, who have never lived within 'Christendom', do not think of the church service as the connecting point. They have no illusions that those they are serving would be remotely interested in a church service. Instead, they embody the gospel through serving, both in deeds and words.
This is a big, big, shift, and it scares a lot of people.
And from Jordan Cooper's Smart Friends Interview :: Alan Hartung:
A couple of decades from now, when we look back at this time of new thoughts and emerging forms of church, what do you think our regrets will be? What do you think we are still getting wrong?
As far as what we're still getting wrong... I think the biggest mistake right now is the trend to deal more with theology than practical church structure. Too many people are just changing what they say and assigning different goals for their programs. "The medium is the message." If our structures show a top-down hierarchical leadership, as one example, it doesn't matter if we teach a different type of leadership. The structure tells people what you really believe about leadership. For me, by far, church structure is the most important issue in the emerging church today. Everything stems from how we relate to each other in our communities, and the relationship is highly dependent on the way we structure our local communities of faith.
In the meantime, I have plenty of work to do myself in learning to live missionally.