Thursday, May 24, 2007

3 books you will eventually hear about

I have had some people e-mail me about 'my' vision for the church. So I thought it might be good to stop for a moment and address that question.

1. I don't have a vision. But GOD does! The issue then is simply hearing from God about that vision and alligning everything with it. You see this in the Bible all the time. God has a vision for Abraham to move; a vision for Israel through Moses; a vision for the church that Paul works out and Peter sometimes struggles with. So? So I have no agenda, formula, blueprint. [and I hope you don't either] but God does.

ok. That's pretty vague. How do we get there?

glad you asked.

I use a variety of tools to get there, but i will highlight three of them. They are based upon the idea that God has ALREADY said some things about the vision, and that He will also give us SPECIAL revelation. What he has already said is in the Bible. What will be SPECIAL is what he will say, or is already saying to us.

So #1 is the Bible and prayer. This is the anchor of Christian churches. This is the great wisdom storehouse He has given us as a gift of things He has already said and wishes to remind us about.

#2 is a book called "The purpose-driven church" by Rick Warren. It is NOT a book of theories or strategies, it is simply a theology of the church. You may have read his "purpose driven life" book [it was a NY times best seller for over 2 years] and it was packed-out with scripture. The same thing with this book. It is simply looking at scripture and figuring out what God has already said about being a church. It ain't perfect, but it does give some good handles. Rick is a wise and godly guy who has produced some excellent fruit, and the book of proverbs says to listen to men such as this.

#3 is a book called "aqua church" by Leonard Sweet. It is NOT a book of answers, it is a book of questions. Every chapter ends with about 3 pages of questions every church should be asking itself. Again, it isn't perfect, but it is a great place to start and submit key questions to God and each other through prayer and dialogue. It might be fun for a small group to do this in the future.

There are other books of church transitions, turn-around churches, 5 star churches, organic churches etc. [I probably have 50 of them]. But if you want to get ahead on some of the dialogue I will place before us, you might want to look these over. And if you are a leader [or soon to be one] these will be MANDATORY reading. Nobody has to agree with them, but they will need to be conversant in them.

Vision is the destination

Mission is the strategies to get there

with all of that in mind you might want to memorize this quote. You will hear it a million times:

"The church may very well be the only
global organization
that exists primarily for the benefit of her

It's not about me...or IS about what Jesus started and His MISSION [loving and teaching people] and His VISION [so that they might embrace the love of God and become fully devoted followers of Christ]

Thus. We will act urgently, passionately, and resolutely about what God has already said ASAP. And will will listen actively, reflectively, and permanently for special things God wants us to do uniquely as individuals and as a church family in the near future.


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