Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The layperson's challenge

Harvie Conn has put together a collection of essays and research into a book called "Planting and Growing Urban Churches: From Dream to Reality". In it Ray Bakke, executive director of International Urban Associates gives us some insight into the traditional forms of ministry and the layperson's role in that. He also gives a look into the future for a post-modern world.

The two types of traditional urban ministry he describes are the crusade and the franchise.

The crusade is basically a flood of evangelism into a certain area, which is designed to overwhelm a region with religion. This has been very powerful in the past in the 1890s in Chicago, and other places.

The franchise is like McDonald's (I haven't read McWorld, but may be the same idea?), where the product (in this case, the Gospel) is watered down, standardized, simplified, cranked out to millions, and is very American in concept.

Urban ministry has changed and now must be more personalized, which means more and different types of ministries for differing people and people groups. Here is a quote from Bakke's work:

"Most of us went to Bible schools or seminaries where we learned to design ministry in our own image, that is, to sing the songs we appreciate and to preach sermons we would like to listen to. Unfortunately for us, the challenge now is to retool and design ministry strategies in the image of the unreached who may be very different from us culturally. These are not the only major challenges to conventional mission theory and practice, but they support the basic thesis. Cities will not yield to simplistic or reductionistic evangelistic strategies or to mission-as-usual thinking."
If we are to reach unbelievers in this way, we must go to them where they live, work, play, go to school, etc. It is up to the layperson to bring the Good News to them and weave it into the fabric of their lives. This isn't a cotton commercial, it is a call to those in the pews to get up and take the work out of the hands of the pastor, preacher, or paid minister and share it with our neighbors, our coworkers, our schoolmates, and the other people we see every day.

It is my prayer that in our efforts to take the Gospel to as many people as possible, we will not water down the message, but at least make it relevant to the people who we share it with.

Monday, August 23, 2004

This is kinda weird

I've seen so many of these blog-thingies, and my brother even has one, so I thought I'd give it a shot. It's weird to think that the whole world can read some of my thoughts, and maybe even some that I'd like to keep to myself, but what do I have to hide?

Maybe this will be a good outlet at those times I get stressed or just a silly place of random stuff. Who knows? I guess we'll all just have to wait and see!

Last night I just "formally" accepted a role as a Worship Minister at the Cascade Hills church of Christ in Salem, OR. The weird thing about it is that it hasn't really started yet. The talks and planning have been going on for a while now, but the official launch won't be until next spring sometime. God makes some things roll pretty fast sometimes. I never would have thought this time last year, while I was designing graphics in front of a desk that I would end up directing a college music group, be a sound tech for a professional Christian group, and then go on to be a Worship Minister. Only God knows where he'll take me from here. I hope that I'll be faithful and hang on for the ride.