Again, probably showing my bias, I didn't get a whole lot out of the "World Mission" chapter, so I am going to combine two chapters into one post.

The gospel word is a word for the present about the future.  Hope is integral to our message.  Non-Christians campaign for justice and feed the hungry, often with greater energy than Christians.   But only Christians can point people to the world to come.  Only Christians can show them how eloquently and relevantly the Bible describes the world we all want. ... The very best we can do for others is to tur their gaze toward eternity.

 

The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world... The reason is obvious.  In a large community we can choose our companions. In a small community our companions are chosen for us. -- G.K. Chesterton

Community: the place where the person you least want to live with always lives. -- Henri Nouwen (paraphrased)

We often surround ourselves with the people we most want to live with, thus forming a club or clique, not a community.  Anyone can form a club; it takes grace, shared vision, and hard work to form a community. -- Philip Yancey

Hmmm. I'm having a hard time figuring out what things to mention from the Discipleship and Training chapter - you'll probably just need to read the book...  Tongue out  They talk about the "little New Testament evidence for the sermon as we understand it today", and that is something that it seems most of us have forgotten - I have heard even refer to churches that don't have a pastor as "not really a church, but we hope to get a pastor soon".  One of the authors is officially a pastor (I think) for his community, but he talks a bunch about how there isn't any real differences between him and others, and gives all sorts of examples of how other people in the community are all working and ministering together.  He says they laugh at the question they often get asked: "How many staff members do you have at the Crowded House?"  He says that most people work full-time jobs in secular jobs, but some have three or four day jobs with the intention of creating gospel relationships outside the workplace.

It is irrelevant whether they are 'full-time,' 'part-time,' or in secular employment.  Indeed, secular involvement actually enriches people's ministries, giving them a day-to-day experience of life in the world, as well as opportunities in the workplace.

He also mentions something I've often wondered about, but have no experience of my own to know what to think about it, or what I would do if I was in someone else's shoes:

This model [Matthew 23:8-12, (my paraphrase) you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you are all brothers, neither call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ] also abolishes, so to spea, the clergy!  Many of my "minister" friends speak of church as something from which they must seek solace.  They protect their day off and guard the privacy of their home.  They feel the loneliness of ministry, looking outside the local church for people who will pastor them and events that will refresh them.  For us church is where we find solace.  The Christian community pastors and refreshes me through the word of God.

Someone put it to us like this: "If I were to say I needed a weekly day off from my wife and children, people would say I had a dysfunctional marriage.  So why, if I say I need a day off from church, do people not ask whether I have a dysfunctional church family?

Posted by Jon Daley on April 6, 2010, 12:23 pm | Read 5720 times
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The Chesterton quote reminds me of Janet's experience in her church in Japan -- ask her sometime about how such a very diverse group of Christians functioned as not only a church but a community.

The second part brings up something that has long bothered me. I'm not against professionals in churches, because that is often the only way to get, for example, the knowledge that comes through a seminary education, or certain other skills. But I'm convinced that many (most?) of our churches are clergy-heavy. And certainly one of the great dangers of working for a church is that, in effect, you have no church. When the congregation pays your salary, and your pastor is your boss, it's hard to be open and easy to get burned.

While I really do think it's important to have at least one person in a church with a solid grounding in most of the subjects taught in seminary, I admire those churches with congregational involvement that includes preaching sermons. (Janet's current church would be a good example, except for the stiff physical requirements they impose.) It works both ways, too. In our church, just before the service on an important day, the rector took time off from his preparations to fix the air conditioner. When someone suggested that the man in charge of such things would arrive soon, he replied, "He doesn't have the 14-year relationship I have with this thing."

Posted by SursumCorda on April 7, 2010, 2:31 pm
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