Monday, December 28, 2009
What Do You Want to Do?
The church I serve is possible not because the church will never change but because the gospel will never change. Brian McLaren argued that because communities of faith reach out to new cultures, the gospel must change (McLaren, “The Method, the Message, and the Ongoing Story,” in The Church in Emerging Culture; Five Perspectives, 2003, 206). I disagree. The reason I am a Christian, the reason I am a pastor is because the gospel does not change.My initial reaction to this piece came in that last paragraph with its "I don't want...I want structure." Those "I's" just sort of stuck out at me - like they were in the wrong place. Then it dawned on me that I often write posts that sound exactly the same. Is the presence of the "I" always indicative of selfishness?
There is so much talk about the church today. Church growth has been replaced by church innovation. Community has been replaced by authenticity. The mega church has been replaced by the multi-site campus. Much of this talk is centered around the need for the church to change. Perhaps. I certainly appreciate innovation (as I type this on a laptop computer). Furthermore, I realize that tradition is often merely the innovations of a bygone era.
Nonetheless, as a pastor I don’t want to spend my time looking for a new gospel that better reaches the culture. Nor do I want to look for the latest innovation to make the church I serve more relevant to the culture. I want to crisply, freshly, truthfully, spiritually, and powerfully apply God’s Word to the church and the culture. My prayer the first day of my ministry here in Atlanta and my prayer over a year into it remains the same: “Lord, help me trust that your Word will build your church.”
Of course not. What's the difference? Well, preceding that last paragraph, Aaron talks about many ideas that others want to do. I want a big church, I want a multi-site church. While Aaron (and I pray myself, but make not actual claim) wants to place himself in the hands of another.
"I give over,...I submit,...I listen,...I obey...." These are the "I's" that God wants from us. These are the legitimate use of the word "I." These should be the desires of our heart.