‘Had anyone from Steve’s church ever called him? When he stopped showing up, did anyone notice? Did anyone from his church community reach out to him, not to chide him for non-attendance, but to listen to his heart and the areas where he was struggling? Did anyone remind him of the gospel? Affirm their affection for him? In short, did anyone from Steve’s church take responsibility for his soul?’
This was really helpful from John Stevens. Most of us will be ordinary, average pastors reaching ordinary, average people, leading ordinary, average churches. Our call is to faithfulness, not to building profiles and megachurches.
This truth applies to any elder, leader or whatever your particular nomenclature is for whoever leads your church. ‘The pastor-as-CEO approach might foster entrepreneurialism and risk-taking, but it easily becomes results-oriented. The pastor-as-general approach might foster perseverance and grit, but it easily becomes task-oriented. One produces swagger: Their word is law because they’re economically indispensable to the church. The other produces presumption: Orders must be followed because the general “knows” what is best for every person. In each case we either tolerate or fail to see traits of bullying, because ministry ends justify ministry means. But this must not be.’
Church planting – particularly that which centres on cities – is in vogue right now. That is why this critique needs to be heard. Is our planting helping the indigenous people or are we simply transporting folk in and aiding gentrification?
‘Honoring Jesus and honoring my brother mattered to me; I didn’t realize I had dishonored both of them. A breakfast meeting changed the way I see my sin, one another, community, and unity.’
My friend, Jeremy Marshall, outlines some of the common reasons people give for not believing in Christ (and offers some helpful answers). ‘It’s not that our friends in the main have considered and rejected Christianity but that they have never considered it as they dont know what it is. Whose fault is that? In part it’s ours because we haven’t properly communicated it!’
‘Of course, a largely white middle class movement is going to produce largely white middle class progeny. The issue is that Evangelicalism is overwhelmingly white and middle class to begin with. Worse, we have created cultures within our churches that imply, if not explicitly make clear, that unless you are white and middle class you will not be considered for leadership roles nor will you be sent to theological college.’