Saturday, February 26, 2011

Contemporary, Cutting Edge Church of Outside The Box; Featuring Innovative, Radical & Current Heart Longings of An Average Believer

Opinion Alert! I am no expert on how a church building should be run. The radical wish-list below is meekly based on what I believe the Bible says a church should look like and my experience of being part of one.**

1) TEAM Leadership, Not Dictatorship

Team foundation facilitates transparency & accountability. Monetary and directional decisions are made with wisdom, prayer and careful advising --consensus based rather than mandates hinged on autocratic whims, emotions & circumstance. Team-Leaders are free to lead within scope of their gifting and not micro managed. Being Team-led encourages relationships, unity & active enthusiastic involvement. Secrecy is avoided and integrity of everyone is preserved.

2) Church VISION & Emphasis On 5-Fold Ministry
Team-leaders of the house should be Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles, Prophets and Teachers. One man or woman cannot and will-not embody all the ministries. God set it up this way on purpose so we would be dependent on Each-other!

Present the WHOLE gospel, utelizing the entire team of leaders. Don't be exclusive to evangelism. Tell the un-churched why the good news is good news--help them distinguish from what is the bad news.
The salvation message does not rest solely a Pastor's shoulders. And the alter-call (or response card) is not the apex of a church experience. ALL Christians are expected to spread the gospel and not just on Sunday. It is the Holy Spirit that calls and persuades anyone to receive Christ. If the non-believer doesn't respond to the preached message, it doesn't mean we've blown it. As long as we are obedient to speak the truth, let us be satisfied that its not their time yet to receive. At the very least we have planted seed or watered the God that is already at work inside them. The harvest belongs to the Lord, not the Evangelist.

3)Head-Pastor A Shepherd-Pastor: (Preacher/speaker or not)
Pastors are not herders of cattle. They are shepherds of sheep! The Pastor should be a friend to his congregation, an elder that offers counseling and guidance. One who is humble and gentle and invests their life and time into discipling & KNOWING, exhorting and feeding their sheep, running after those who stray and apologizing when necessary. A church body should not be led by executive or administrative CEO. Church is  a FAMILY, repeat/referral network based. We are not Hollywood, a corporation, or a retail marketing business.

4) Benchmark For Churches 'Success' Measured In Fruit, Not By Number Of People Who Showed Up Or Filled Out A Communication card.
Fruit: Are needs 1-10 listed here being met?  Does the church have bountiful volunteers?  Do the regular attendees bring visitors? The question we should be asking is--do they want to volunteer, are they proud to bring their friends? Are folks genuinely excited to be there?
The answer to that cannot be quantified with numbers. Growing a church based on statistics cannot be applied to an entity like the Church because it's innately personal, cellular and creative. To do so ties the hands of God and puts him in a box.  Who needs the Holy Spirit when we have all the answers in a database?

5) The Preacher(s) To Minister Authentically: From The Word AND From Their Own Reservoir Of Life Experience (truth & light, water & salt)
The minister should be vulnerable and transparently giving of themselves to congregation in order to connect, engage and identify with the people. Ministers should seek to hear from God through the Word and prayer and utilizes their own unique strengths and personal testimony in order to get the message across in an authentic way only they are anointed to do so.  Not with stock lessons, borrowed sermons, or by researching what is 'relevant' teaching in today's popular church. Tell the WHOLE truth and do not sell out, no matter what looks are on their faces.

6) EXPRESSED Appreciation, Gratitude & Respect And Honor For Volunteers/Lay-Leaders & Committed Members.
We all need to be encouraged! Jesus & the Apostle Paul made time for it, the Pastor(s) should make the time as well. Love; Kindness,  hospitality, generosity and friendship are the constitution of what makes PEOPLE a Church, if we don’t have love amongst each other, we have nothing. Where there is no love there is discouragement.  If the people continue to be discouraged the church will soon be divided and after awhile, we wont have a building to stand in.

7) High VALUE Placed On Organic Worship, Prayer & Holy Spirit Leading:
Worship sets the tone for the message being preached (if it does not serve as the 'message' itself). Worship prepares the heart to hear and scrubs from the inside. When prayer is incorporated, Holy Spirit is free to convict, transform & heal. Worship & prayer are the ONLY things God receives from the body in a corporate gathering. A trust-worthy Worship Pastor should be delegated the full scope of their responsibility, granted full-liberty to lead worship in whatever capacity suited to his/her gifts and ability including song choice, genre, style, be it solo, band or full choir. Administrative leaders and the like need not touch, micromanage, hinder and especially interrupt worship.

8) A Church That's Built On A Stable/Biblical Foundation: A Tried and True Model Of Love, Friendships, Worship, Prayer, Holy Spirit, Teaching, Giving & Invitation.

Creativity is NOT a foundation to build a church on...fluff, hype, gimmicks, 'contemporvant' packaging come last. If we build a church on creativity first its an upside down pyramid of a solid church model. If we copy everybody else, then the antiquity of gifts within our body are rendered useless. If every ministry within the church body is 'formulated' and minimized to the point that 'anyone' can fill the spot, then our individuality is discounted.

9) Be INVOLVED With Other Local Churches, Not In Competition
We are ALL one body. Regardless of where the tithe money ends up, NO restrictions or discouragement of volunteering or participation in 'another' churches activity or outreach, period. Enough with the competition between bodies! It's bad enough that Sunday is already the most racially divided day of the week. Again, we are all ONE Church.

10)Majority Of Funds Going Towards Outreach Not Overhead.

Mortgage payment eating up most of the tithe? Maybe its time to downsize. If the people of the church love their church (each other), it won't matter where they gather as long as there's room enough.


Christina said...

Its like you read my mind. Very well done and articulated.

Sarah said...

Bet that felt good to get that all down! Bravo!

Adrienne said...

Wow! PREACH LISA!!! Good stuff!

raptureme said...

I loved what you had to say Lisa. This is God inspired for sure. Thank you for sharing your heart.

raptureme said...

Oh my name doesn't show up. raptureme is Jamie E.

David Cho said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent. Why don't you write a book on this?

The only strong point of disagreement I have with is #3. Why should there even be a "head pastor"? I often ask people. Who was the pastor of the Galatian Church? The Corinthian Church? The Ephesian Church? They simply scratch their heads because they had never been asked that question before.

But ask who the pastor of _______ Community Church down the street, and they will whip out an answer for you before you finish your sentence. There is something horribly wrong with the picture here. The office of head pastor is simply unbiblical.

Been involved with a house church in the past year or so. You should check out the my friend Keith's blog. He is the one who started my house church 5 years ago, and no he is not the pastor. We believe in the priesthood of each believer and it has worked remarkably well.

Lisa said...

Thank you, David. You're absolutely right (see item #1)! I wrote this knowing our 'head' pastor (whom I dearly love) was going to read it and I was trying to be delicate.

I’ve come to realize a lot of the tenets I’ve defended most my life are not biblical, rather they’re brick & mortar-church survival rhetoric that ensures the staff's salary and been passed down proof-textedly for generations.

I believe Christians are responsible for financially supporting their mentors & ministry but when the church mortgage and faculty exclusively depend on or become entitled to tithes as their primary source of income it opens Pandora’s box to ambition, competition, desperation, resentment, division, etc. If more pastors were like Paul (shared the preaching responsibilities), relied on 2nd job for income and taught out of homes, donated and/or rented facilities, our tithes would be SO much more effective. Besides that it would disarm churches from alienating post and non-members. We could all be friends again. (squee!)

I know I’m preaching to the choir here (been watching the house church movement for a while) but I just needed to reiterate and drive it into the ground and bring the point home to emphasize how much I agree with you:-)

Margarita said...

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