Churches are just swapping sheep. Have you ever heard someone make this claim or something like it? I have—way too many times, from pastors and church members alike.
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This will have some huge implications for how we do church life together …
Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. For some postevangelical Christians this has become a hallmark of the difference between emerging or emergent churches and traditional evangelical churches. I fear it can and often does lead to one of two problems. In that case, the church would seem to be little more than a cozy club of people who like each other or, at the most, together look fondly upon a cross without any agreement about what it stands for. Second, insofar as the church holds onto some semblance of orthodox doctrine however defined , it may relegate full belonging to a small coterie of leaders who must believe and behave first and then belong. What does believe include? What does it mean to behave? And not everyone who wishes can join in that sense—of possessing the status of full member.
Here's to the Wall Builders | Nehemiah Chapter 3
Thanks to the vision and determination of German pastors like Herbert Hege, some German Mennonites, however, did plant churches, and invited young adults from the United States to join them. Soon after arriving and getting to know Hege, his wife, and their eight children, along with other church members, Steve and I were invited to return as missionaries to focus on planting a church in Pfullendorf, a small village of about twelve thousand that was predominantly Catholic, with varied levels of commitment and involvement in the life of the church. He explained the terms bounded-set, centered-set and fuzzy-set to us as ways to think about what a church focuses on in its structure. Briefly, the bounded-set focuses on the boundaries, on defining who is in and who is out, and what people must exhibit in their behavior and beliefs in order to belong to any given group. Typically there is an emphasis on holiness and purity. The centered-set defines a few characteristics that are central, and does not focus on the boundaries.
As people who have received grace and mercy from God, our church should be the most loving, accepting and welcoming place in town! If we went to another nation with a mission agency they would give us cross cultural training … I think we may now need cross cultural training to reach the UK! If you come you might hear the gospel. And down the line, if you commit your life to Christ and get baptised, you might be allowed to belong to the church family. And once people decide to follow Jesus discipleship begins. We also run the danger of teaching people a set of Christian rules, instead of teaching them to follow Jesus! This means helping people to find a place in our church family before they come to faith in Jesus. Once people have received the gospel and opened their lives to Jesus, once they have believed in him, then their life begins to change. Not because we hot them with a set of rules, but because the Holy Spirit is at work to transform them; they begin to live a life worthy of the calling they have received, albeit with many trips and stumbles along the way … and we need to be okay with the trips and stumbles too. Thanks for this summary Steve.