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Eugene Peterson: Practice Resurrection 1

posted by Scot McKnight

Peterson.jpgThere is nothing predictable about Eugene Peterson’s set of books, Conversations on Spiritual Theology. After volume one I had a hunch of what volume two would be; but not so and so on and so on. Now we get volume 5: Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ

It’s a book about “growing up in Christ” and it focuses on the book of Ephesians, and it’s really good. I begin today with this quotation and wonder what you think about this:
“The American church runs on the euphoria and adrenaline of new birth — getting people into the church, into the kingdom, into causes, into crusades, into programs. We turn matters of growing up over to Sunday school teachers, specialists in Christian education, committees to revise curricula, retreat centers, and deeper life conferences, farming it out to parachurch groups for remedial assistance. I don’t find pastors and professors for the most part, very interested in matters of formation in holiness. They have higher profile things to tend to.”


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Friar_Tuck

posted February 25, 2010 at 12:47 am


I am not sure if most pastors are not interested in this. I think they are. I think however, that discipleship is a “harder sell” for the congregation to be involved in. I think most pastors are eager to help people be formed spiritually, but find it hard to connect to folks who are eager to “grow up”



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Peggy

posted February 25, 2010 at 1:40 am


Friar Tuck, this Abbess absolutely agrees with you!



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Your Name

posted February 25, 2010 at 4:21 am


Could part of the explanation be that we have misguided assumptions about how to grow spiritually? I thinking particularly of the idea that spiritual growth is something that one does alone…like Jesus fasting in the desert. All the spiritual activities that I was pointed to growing up required no other people: praying, quiet time, bible reading, etc. If that is what it takes so become spiritual mature, what else should a pastor do than to give you encouragement and motivation on Sundays?



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JAR

posted February 25, 2010 at 4:22 am


Could part of the explanation be that we have misguided assumptions about how to grow spiritually? I thinking particularly of the idea that spiritual growth is something that one does alone…like Jesus fasting in the desert. All the spiritual activities that I was pointed to growing up required no other people: praying, quiet time, bible reading, etc. If that is what it takes so become spiritual mature, what else should a pastor do than to give you encouragement and motivation on Sundays?



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John W Frye

posted February 25, 2010 at 7:47 am


The key to the Eugene’s quote is the satirical last sentence: “They have higher profile things to tend to.” Things like be church CEO, be church “coach,” be church “Bible Man,” be church comedian, be church counselor ad infinitum. The earthy, patient, deeply relational work of spiritual formation is to hidden for what the USAmerican “pastor” has become.



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Pat

posted February 25, 2010 at 8:26 am


Wow! I don’t know if pastors aren’t interested or if it’s that they get sucked into the business of church. I think they get so distracted by keeping the machine running, that it may distract from them focusing on formation. Sometimes, it’s the people that expect this of their pastors. They put demands on the pastor to take care of this or that, that sometimes little time or energy is left for formation. Of course, this should not be.



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tscott

posted February 25, 2010 at 8:46 am


Be honest, our congregations fill with people not pressing on to maturity. So it’s ground that yields thistles in the biblical sense.
In Fowler’s analysis all the stages have vulnerable areas, the only cure for which is being in continual conversation with the strengths of the other stages. The language of a conjunctive faith hasn’t been developed or appreciated, which leaves the group, by definition, behind.
As Alan Jamiesan, another tranformationist in the journey of faith, concludes in his book “Chrysalis”, we need a new style of community. We all need to read Jamiesan’s ending chapter.
Do you know this thread is part of the Blue Social model/Kingdom of God AND Criticizing/Defending Church discussions?



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mick

posted February 25, 2010 at 8:49 am


I agree that pastor’s, teachers, elders, etc. do want to see people grow more deeply in Christ. But how badly do we want to see this? Do we believe in Jesus enough to lead people where they may not want to go? Are we willing to speak prophetically of the call holiness and leaving milk for meat, even if it costs us our reputation or “job”? Or, is the congregation and “bureaucracy’s” call to focus on self help, entertainment, management,etc, an excuse for my own lack of faith and courage to speak/live beneath the surface of things? I confess this has been true in my own ministry experience.



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Jason

posted February 25, 2010 at 9:16 am


“Formation of Holiness” – good term but doesn’t that mean forming our set apartness? What then sets us apart – we love differently, we relate differently, we serve differently, we lead differently, we parent differently. Our lives are set apart under God’s authority. I don’t know many pastors who don’t have this “formation” as a core driver for them.
Place that into the context of people systems and you have the business of the church. I see two focuses then…first, are people falling through the cracks of the system causing them not to trust the system and you as the one setting that system up. Second, does the system help people form in their set apartness?



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Jamie

posted February 25, 2010 at 9:20 am


Maybe churches need to do a better job of training people. Typically in a mid-sized church much of the spiritual formation stuff needs to be delegated because the pastor can’t possibly be all to everyone…nor is every pastor gifted to be all to all. So as I agree with that quote to some degree….I also have trouble with it.
I do agree that we cannot be satisfied with a certain shallowness in evang churches. we can’t sacrifice “attaining the whole fullness of Christ” for keeping people entertained or numbers.



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Richard

posted February 25, 2010 at 9:37 am


In my experience at the local level, the pressures of “running” a church often overwhelm a pastor’s own spiritual formation, let alone their ability to participate in forming others into the image of Christ. I’ve seen this happen in multiple churches in our area and it’s something I fight actively against in my own life and ministry – the tyranny of the urgent to borrow a phrase.
That said, I think it becomes no surprise that formation seems to not be the top priority for a congregation if it isn’t the top priority for the leader of the congregation. How can the pastor help form others if he or she isn’t be formed themselves?
This is, I think, reflected in our shift in lingo from shepherding and farming to business terminology.



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AprilK

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:09 am


I agree with:
Friar Tuck – “iscipleship is a “harder sell” for the congregation to be involved in.” and…
John Frye: “The earthy, patient, deeply relational work of spiritual formation is to hidden for what the USAmerican “pastor” has become.” and…
Pat: “they get so distracted by keeping the machine running, that it may distract from them focusing on formation.”
I’d add that it seems to have a lot to do with the consumer mentality in the US church. People don’t want to be mature, they want an easy way to have their spiritual needs met. Well meaning pastors get stuck just trying to keep the machine running. It happens in big churches and even in smaller home fellowships (of which I’ve been a part for the past four years).
I also believe it has to do with expecting the pastor to be the one to drive spiritual maturity in churches rather than allowing a more natural flow of the use of the gifts among everyone in the body.



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Rick

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:15 am


Many pastors focus on investing in a few around them (perhaps other staff and/or a few members) and then having them invest in a few, and so on (eventually down to small groups or one-on-one).
I am not sure if this trickle down effect works, but that is approach by some, especially at larger churches.



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Laura Flanders

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:34 am


Although I’ve never met him, I made Eugene Peterson my mentor years ago. I can’t wait to read this next book in the series.
That said, I’m not sure I could make such a statement as he does about pastors and professors. He says that they are not, “for the most part, very interested in matters of formation of holiness.” When I spend time with pastors and with seminary students (which I do a lot in my work,I find that this is what they are most interested in. It is the people in their church who are not. Thus, if the pastor leading such people have it as their priority to create contexts and environments where the Holy Spirit is welcomed to form us more into the image of Jesus, the people go running. Or, they hang the pastor out to dry. It is the people who want the CEO. Not the pastor who wants to be the CEO.
Regarding professors, what Peterson may say here could be a bit true in some contexts. It isn’t in the one I hang out in. Ongoing formation into holiness is central to our “curriculum”. We provide the context. Whether it is embraced with a positive attitude is up to the student. Same situation as the church.
Thus the problem is with the one who is to be formed (the parishoner and the student), not with the ones who want to journey with others in their formation process (the pastor and the professor).



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Dave

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:35 am


I agree with Peterson. Pastors respond to the wants of people by providing new, splashy programs or sermon series to keep members distracted from the mundane, lethargy, apathy. Maybe we are distracting people away from deeper discipleship.



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John W Frye

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:59 am


I appreciate Laura Flanders (#14) writing, “It is the people who want the CEO. Not the pastor who wants to be the CEO.” I know that some congregations want a CEO, a king, a man in charge. And that this vision of pastoring fits the power-grabbing, control-freak personality of some leaders. So, it can be a both/and toxic situation.
tscott (#7), Scot McKnight did a series of posts on Jamiesan’s *Chrysalis* some years ago. Check the archives.



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Richard Jones

posted February 25, 2010 at 11:01 am


I think the other Richard’s comments are right on target. Plus, I think the average pastor would have NO CLUE WHERE TO BEGIN in teaching/leading spiritual formation. When I look at this in print that is scandalous. But, unfortunately, I believe it is true. We are taught to do routine tasks-preach and lead worship every week, visit hospitals, preside over weddings and funerals. But the actual formation of souls-I don’t think most pastors/church leaders have a clue where to start. The pastors don’t know how to pastor. This is not a criticism-I believe the vast majority of pastors have the heart of God and the good of their people on their minds. WE just don’t know where to start. The short answer may be “read Peterson’s books”, and that may help, although I found a former Peterson work on pastoring people to be very short on specifics.



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T

posted February 25, 2010 at 11:02 am


A common theme for Eugene Peterson, especially about pastoral work, is a serious long term focus and approach to life and service, and he doesn’t see much of this same long-term focus in fellow Americans, including pastors. Too many tend to lack a certain steadiness of purpose and action. Peterson is a life and prophet in the opposite direction; a marathon runner in a nation of sprinters. I’m so glad he keeps reminding the evangelical world and its leaders that pastoring, like parenting or friendship or even just our relationship to Christ, is a much more like a marathon than a sprint or even a set of sprints.
To me, this quote is classic Peterson, still trying to draw the Church toward patient, wise consistency rather than a series of “high impact” services or the like.
I’d agree with several commenters that many pastors are actually concerned about formation, but that we tend to approach this long-term task while still caught up in short term mindsets and alongside other goals with better short term pay offs.



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Jase Miller

posted February 25, 2010 at 11:02 am


When God puts us in a place to influence the direction of what ‘growing up in Christ’ will mean in a given church, how shall we respond? A church says, “We want to take spiritual growth and discipleship seriously,” and then people attempt to find ways to address that ‘concern’… “Let’s start Sunday school, revise the curriculum, establish a retreat center or host a conference,” some might say…
Peterson’s list of sub-contractors includes:
“…Sunday school teachers, specialists in Christian education, committees to revise curricula, retreat centers, and deeper life conferences, farming it out to parachurch groups…”
I know of many churches that attempt to develop these same programs “in-house”… but would Peterson applaud these efforts at addressing the concern for maturity so long as they are not “outsourced”? I don’t know enough of the context of the quotation to even have a sense of how he might respond.
I suspect there is another way of thinking, perhaps unnatural to most in American culture, that might yield a very different list of actionable responses to a desire to take maturity in Christ seriously. Would love to hear additional ideas/responses…



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T

posted February 25, 2010 at 11:23 am


One more thing: Again, I’ve not read this latest book, but I think Peterson in this quote is hitting another common theme for him (that I also agree with): that formational work is done on the ground via relationships with real, messy people in their real, messy situations. I think he’s saying that too many pastors and professors want to do their part in formation of others only or primarily from a distance: from behind a pulpit or podium or atop an organizational chart, “casting vision” for relationship and formation, but not actually in the trenches of real relationship with people as they are hurt or mess up or become overwhelmed outside of the classroom or service. Formation is done in the “lower profile” activities and settings of day to day life, through real friendships rather than presentations.



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Carin2Learn

posted February 25, 2010 at 11:46 am


One criticism I have of my church is that they are so focused on growing people to maturity through teaching and study that they neglect simple things like baptizing their own children who become believers. The repeated focus is on learning how to study Scripture for yourself and growing into greater fullness of following Christ. Not saying that this church is perfect – ha!, just that they seem to lean to the opposite end of the spectrum on this subject.
Here’s the part I find interesting: My church also has a reputation for being too “heady.” So apply yourself towards winning new converts and you’re seen as “dumbed down” or only interested in “high profile” stuff? Apply yourself towards spiritual formation and you’re too intellectual? Sounds like nobody can win on those terms.



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AprilK

posted February 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm


Interesting, Carin2learn.
I’d ask your pastors whether “head knowledge” the same thing as maturity? I can know everything about cooking a gourmet meal, but if I’ve never turned on the stove or chopped the garlic it doesn’t amount to anything.
The church you’re talking about might not be “splashy,” but it also might not be any more “mature” than a church up the road. In fact, wouldn’t what you say about ignoring some basic commands of Jesus, like making new disciples and baptizing them, prove that they aren’t really understanding what maturity is?



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robyn

posted February 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm


euphoria seems contradictory with a long, steadied race.
we need to buck that element of culture, and set ourselves up for distance endurance with little or no “encouragement” in the form of euphoria.
we’re so off-course when we think we have better things to do. as a small business owner, and an ex-church planter/pastor (are we ever ex-church planters, really? :), I have learned what it means to farm things out- the dangers. and i also know what it feels like to really just want someone to do this or that for you so you can focus elsewhere. but if you want to maintain the core of what you do, you can’t farm it out. you must remain intimately linked to your work.
pastors aren’t distant CEO and COO’s. that’s not our structure (scares me when we’re told to structure this way). instead, we are to be intimately involved in our pastures, or else we might start trying to quick-fix with pesticides and artificial growth mechanisms, which ironically wouldn’t be necessary if we’d just farm intimately are was originally intended.
when God calls us to a pasture, he doesn’t call us to hire some people who run machines and we only keep in touch with via direct deposit and an occasional large-scale, impersonal meeting. he calls us to the pasture. we should know what it smells-looks-tastes like.
shalom.



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Peggy

posted February 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm


Thanks, T #20, for writing and saving me from trying to say the same thing! I love Peterson and haven’t caught up with the book I already have….sigh
This was exactly my experience as a pastor (tasked with assimilation via classes and small groups). The folks who went through the four four-week modules of my Community Life Series were challenged to grow in the context of a group of believers working out the indwelling Christ day by day in their lives. It was a nitty-gritty kind of series and was overwhelmingly successful for almost five years.
Then the graduates of this class began to infiltrate bigger groups and leadership circles and wonder why the rest of the “old timers” weren’t with the program and getting serious.
That was the beginning of the end of my tenure as Community Life Pastor. The Sr. Pastor and I designed and team-taught a series of two-hour seminar versions of these four-week courses for the leadership (pastors, trustees, board members — about 50 folks, all told). We ended it with an overnight retreat that rolled out the fifth module “Learning to Lead”. In some ways it was a great success. But to those who did not like this direction, I was beginning to be seen as “the problem”.
That fall, we launches our own 40 Days of Purpose without using their materials, but with a 40 Days curriculum I wrote that was a way to “retro” the Community Life Series for the larger congregation. It was the single most successful event the congregation had ever experienced. But it was too bright a light on the “dark” issues of real discipleship.
I will be forever grateful to God for the wonderful experiences of growth in discipleship that he brought to pass in those five years. I know that those seeds are still bearing fruit in the lives of the 300 or so who went through the classes with me, about half of the leaders who experienced the seminar versions, and many more who were challenged in our 40 Days experience.
I let the disappointment go and have left the results to God…
That Sr. Pastor who brought me onto his pastoral stall left shortly after I did (hmmm) and just recently started a new tenure in another congregation. When he did, he let me know how grateful he was that I had insisted he understand the lessons in those modules … and that he had already begun infusing those principles with his new associate pastors.
As I have also said in so many places, the biggest obstacle to discipleship is frequently the whole clergy/laity division. Christ is the source and sustainer of life in the church, not the pastor. The Spirit indwells all believers and yearns to bind them together as they grow up into Christ.



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Matt Erickson

posted February 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm


I always appreciate Peterson’s writing. I read that he begin this new spiritual theology series after feeling that he couldn’t rely on pastors to follow through on what he had written in his earlier works aimed at pastors.
I do think that a lot of pastors and churches miss the point in true spiritual formation. We easily slip into a lot of other things or the ‘business’ of doing church, like one person commented above.
Who should be blamed: pastors or the church culture they are trying to work within? It’s probably a bit of both if we’re honest.
As “T” said earlier, Peterson grasps and tries to hold out to pastors the importance of long-term, steady pastoral ministry. You cannot be in this work for your own glory if you take this approach. It’s not about us.
I also am convinced that Peterson is one of the lone voices still out there – aside from some of the newer missional church advocates – crying out for deep, relational ministry in an increasingly impersonal and consumer culture.
Thanks for taking time to dwell on this latest book, Scot!



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Jim Kane

posted February 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm


Scot,
I see this stream of thought coming from various sources and to have Peterson embrace it as well is very good. I think that it is evidence of some deep dissatisfaction with how we are living/breathing/sharing the faith.



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Brian in NZ

posted February 25, 2010 at 1:26 pm


The way church is done, requires it to be all things to all people. What if one church devoted itself to outreach evangelism and winning souls, accompanied with new beginners teaching programs, then encouraged people who had been there two years or more to go to the church down the road where there is a focus on discipleship and maturing? Could two different styles of church work together like this?



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Reid

posted February 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm


I wonder how much of the problem is because the primary expectation of people, training institutions, denominational leaders, and pastors themselves, is that their primary purpose is to ‘run a church’ rather than ‘grow a people’?



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Reid

posted February 25, 2010 at 1:29 pm


I forgot to add the ‘therefore’ to my last post. Therefore we tend to recruit people to ‘join’ and support the running of our ‘church’ more clearly than we recruit people to follow Jesus.



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Bob Porter

posted February 25, 2010 at 1:43 pm


What a great thread!
Peterson challenges me like very few others can. As Laura (#14) mentioned, I consider him a mentor.
I was also struck by the crossover with other recent threads (tscott #7).
It seems clear that each of us only sees a small part of the American church, but it also seems clear that there are a number of causes of the current situation. I believe that the pastor?s job is easily one of the most difficult that I can imagine. I am basically a lay leader and I fully understand the major impact that the various elements of a congregation can have on the direction that a pastor often takes. By the same token, I often wonder how some people ever ended up in the pastorate.
Last June, I was able to attend the Renovare – The Jesus Way Conference in San Antonio and hear people like Peterson, Willard, Foster and James Brian Smith speak on spiritual formation. There is definitely a sizable community of leaders committed to spiritual formation, but there is still plenty of work to be done.



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Carin2Learn

posted February 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm


RE: 21 and 22
I admit I’m responding off the cuff and am not responding thoroughly. Still I had a negative gut reaction to Peterson’s quote which suprised me bcz I’m onboard with a lot of organic church/missional stuff. We need churches doing the “fluffy stuff” and some doing the intellectual deep study stuff. We need organic church cultivating deep relationships and we probably also need some form of institutional church, as hard as that is for me personally to admit. WE are not the cooks. We are merely the ingredients. We are the body, not the head. And however long we focus maturity we are not going to get there. If we focus on Christ we may get there part way, on this side.
I think Peterson’s statement above is overgeneralized and lacks nuance. Maybe I will see it differently once I’ve read the book.



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Carin2Learn

posted February 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm


RE: 22
visavis the church I was talking about
I think they have similar problems as any large church with growing believers to maturity. I didn’t claim they were mature only that they seem to be an exception to Peterson’s overgeneralization. I do not think that they are “too intellectual” as some claim. I just find it interesting that because they focus on the disciplines of study and service, which are not “splashy,” they should be criticized for being too heady and serious.
All churches will not all play the same role, focus on the same things. Maturity is to say, “Oh you’re needing rest from organized church? Try this community of believers then.” Or, “You’re sensing a call to… (study, evanglism, etc…). Try this local church.” All churches will have overlapping qualities but we also will each have unique gifts
to bring to the worldwide church. We should use that as a strength instead tearing each other down. Some parts are splashy but we should not all try to be the same part. That’s how I would put the point I think Peterson’s trying to make.



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RJS

posted February 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm


Carin2Learn,
Are you suggesting that churches are like schools – we move through them as we move through life? I’ve heard this from a few people working in a seeker church format – they bring people in, but expect most to move on to another form of church. Their niche is bringing people to the gospel – not all aspects of discipleship.
I think there is a real problem here that distorts what a church community is and should be. On the other hand no church or pastor can do everything equally well.



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Jim Martin

posted February 25, 2010 at 3:25 pm


Scot,
I appreciate what both Laura Flanders (#14) and John Frye said about this one. They are both right, in my opinion. Many, many pastors do not want to be a CEO and yet this is what some churches want.
“I appreciate Laura Flanders (#14) writing, “It is the people who want the CEO. Not the pastor who wants to be the CEO.” I know that some congregations want a CEO, a king, a man in charge. And that this vision of pastoring fits the power-grabbing, control-freak personality of some leaders. So, it can be a both/and toxic situation.”
Meanwhile, some people are trying to asking what leadership in a church might look like without using the model of a CEO.



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Carin2Learn

posted February 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm


RJS 33: I think I’ve heard that too and I also think school is an unwise model to emulate. Of course, I’m also a homeschooler. :-)
I think there are different seasons in a person’s life and that God can choose move people to churches as he sees fit. As long as a local church is more concerned with their own bottom line, numbers and dollars, or “splashiness” or “coolness” or even “effectiveness,” than they are building people up in God, whoever and wherever they are, they are limited in their kingdom thinking.
Instead we can look at the different local expressions of church as needful, and even beneficial, even though we can still disagree about models and efficacy. More and more we see this with people belonging to a small group from this church, while serving with this parachurch organization, and going to this church on Sundays because they have a great youth program. Because they have relationships building in so many different local expressions, are they weaker or stronger? Is the church weaker or stronger for that? I know people who would say that weakens the church, but I’m not so sure. I think whether or not that’s healthy depends on a lot of things, primarily whether it’s what God wants for them and whether they are developing or hiding from real relationships.
So long answer – did it approach your question?
I think the best model is to emulate is considering each local expression of church as a part within the body of Christ. If we apply the Body of Christ passages in Scripture to local expressions of church, what does it teach us? Do the principles scale up? Has God created the church in a fractal pattern? (Ok, that’s one I just like to think about for fun. :-)



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Your Name

posted February 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm


I would like to suggest that churches begin to ask what it would take to build a mentoring culture — not a program, but a culture. What would it look like if people in the church were taught that each were responsible for grabbing the steering wheel and putting their foot to the gas peddle when it comes to their maturity and growth?
Most mentoring models are corporate/business like; top-down, driven by the mentor. I suggest a mentoring model that encourages the mentee to take ownership over their life of learning and growth. Then they can pick can choose (with the help of a mentor/friend/coach) what programs they can engage according to their particular growth needs in all the various domains of their personhood (emotional, intellectual, financial, relational, vocational, etc).
The church can certainly provide the programs. Who wants to argue that programs are inherently evil? They are not. Where we get messed up is when we think that our programs, classes, and what not serve all the various growth needs of the people in our congregation. That is impossible! Allow people the freedom to discern their growth needs, find the people/classes/programs that will help them in the particular area they have identified. Encourage them to listen to their life and take ownership and be intentional. In other words, teach mentees to ask for help. If mentees are encouraged to do this in community it won?t be a narcissistic endeavor and it also will avoid mentees from becoming highly prideful. It also helps mentees to allow others to be mirrors?.mentors helping them discern what is needed, but encouraging mentees to now get to and resource their growth goals.
I?m dreaming.



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Laura Flanders

posted February 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm


Ooops…sorry. Above comment is by me. Laura



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Carin2Learn

posted February 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm


Ooh! Laura, I’m loving that! The way my family tries to operate and even “school” our kids follows a similar line of thought.
I got some flack for this parenting class I was involved in because you teach children about their basic emotional needs and how to meet them. Wouldn’t that breed narcissistic kids? Actually it doesn’t have to. If my kids know what their needs are and how to meet them healthily then they have more to give and make better choices. They also understand when I express what my needs are and are more willing to compromise so we all win. Instead of motivating primarily externally, we talk about what kind of people we want to be and what kind of
family we want to be and how to live that out. Each person is responsible for their own behavior and growth and for contributing to the family as a whole according to who we’ve agreed to be together.
What you’re suggesting is cultivating something similar in the church, right?



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chaplain mike

posted February 25, 2010 at 7:13 pm


What John Frye said (#5).
We may live in a day when some of us in evangelicalism need to develop monastic movements to separate ourselves from our culturally captive churches and to testify to a better way.



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Laura Flanders

posted February 25, 2010 at 11:36 pm


To Carin2Learn #38 — Yes, I suppose so!
The goal set before us obviously is the gospel of Christ. Increased self-awareness married to an increasing awareness of God and his people make for a more healthy environment that I think leads to transformation in all sorts of ways. Mentoring, as a tool, is one way to help get there. I suspect that if this idea were considered in dialogue with others, the vision for it would become much more clear than what I propose. I rarely trust my ideas born by my lone self in my lonely office. :) Collaboration is key.



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Brian in NZ

posted February 26, 2010 at 2:46 am


@RJS #33 That is what I was suggesting in #27. In my scenario, two churches working together to provide stages of growth, may well carry fellowship groups through from one church to another thus maintaining the links of community



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Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




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