Today I was unusually apprehensive about preaching – probably because I knew that the message I had was going to really ruffle a few feathers. I felt I needed to speak about the fact that the church must change or die – but country folks are by and large much more change resistant than others.
I had a great time with the leaders on Friday night – they were very open to new ways of doing mission and being church.
This morning seemed to go ok.
Here are a few random quotes from my notes:
‘its ironic that conservatives say we are becoming ‘less’ Baptist by changing. In fact conservatism is an indication we became less Baptist a long time ago.’
‘Some of us have even been brought up to believe that the church exists for us – that we have a right to youth groups, kids ministries, that pastors are paid to visit us and do what we want them to. I think we would struggle to find those ideas in scripture. We would hear that we are love one another and encourage one another and serve one another and the role of paid worker is to equip us to do that and to be missionaries in our own communities.’ download girl in the park the free
‘More often today we want people to come to us – to our programmes – to our meetings – to our church services – to become disciples. Apart from the fact that we don’t produce disciples that way, reality is that most people don’t want to do it.’
‘When the church looks inward it dies – when the church looks out it finds its true purpose and in that it finds life.’
‘Most of our churches operate almost exclusively by inviting. Now its not to say that inviting people to things is wrong – but for many of us that has become our only way of evangelism. Bringing people to a place where we feel comfortable – where we out number them – where our culture dominates – and where they probably feel like fish out of water.’
‘Henry Lawson’s poem ‘The Christ of the Never’ tells the story of a bush missionary who hung out with the bushmen and lived like they did – who connected with them. And in writing of him Lawson contrasts him with the churchmen he knew of who he says “feel not who know not but preach” Those who feel not – who know not – but who preach. If you haven’t felt another person’s world, if you don’t know another person’s world then your right to preach just isn’t there. Only those who venture into the world have the credibility to speak to that world. ‘
‘Maybe some of us even long for church to be the one place that is constant – where we can escape the ‘change fatigue’ that hits us from everywhere else. I have heard that said. But if the church is serious about mission then we must be a place that is constantly changing – constantly moving – constantly trying new things to see if we can better connect. Sorry if that adds to your change fatigue! But we have no choice if we are serious about mission.’
‘Paulo Coehlo once said “The ship is safest when it is in port. But that’s not what ships were made for”. This ship needs to venture into the stormy seas of mission in a culture that is open but turbulent. You can be a passenger and sit below deck and pretend that we’re still moored up to the dock or you can get up on deck and develop some new skills and gather some new ideas and in the process you’ll see the church connect with ordinary Australian people like it never has before.’
Maybe you can see why I was apprehensive!15 minutes download