Paradigms Must Change

Last night in my evangelism class we discussed the need for certain paradigms in the church to change. My professor, Dr. Alvin Reid, has dealt with this in his book, Evangelism Handbook. Last night he showed us a chart that included some of the changes that would need to take place, for instance, to cause a shift from having a mindset of maintaing an institution to advancing a movement. This is good insight that includes some much needed changes within the church landscape if a proper approach to the current culture is to be attained. The currently held views stemming from the maintenance mindset is on the lefts, with the needed mindset shift on the right.

From:                                                         To:
I GO to church              –>                    I AM the church

It is imperative that believers begin to realize their ownership of the ministry of the church. The Great Commission has been given to every believer; and, every believer is accountable to pursue it. Every believer has been both saved and sent, commanded to live their life as a missionary in whatever context God has placed them (career, school, family, circle of friends, etc…). A movement will be the result of believers within a Body moving out of the context of the church building and incarnationally infiltrating the surrounding community, guided by the gospel and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

From:                                                          To:
Scorecard based on seating capacity –> Scorecard based on sending capacity

Churches must develop the idea that one of its primary purposes is to train and send missionaries, both into foreign and domestic mission fields. This will not happen, though, as long as success is determined by the number of attenders that show up to worship services week to week. A movement will be the result of churches beginning to define success by how many of its members are effectively and efficiently moving from salvation to discipleship to mission.

From:                                                     To:
Hotel for saints             –>                 Hospital for sinners

Plain and simply put: all self-righteousness and pride must be done away with. We are saved only by way of the unearned grace of God. None of us belong to the church for any reason other than the fact that we have been redeemed from the bondage of sin and adopted as sons and daughters of the most high God. Movements are stifled because of arrogance and an unwillingness to love the people within culture and fight exclusivism and uniformity.

From:                                                    To:
Minimalistic                 –>                 Holistic

The gospel seeks to redeem and transform every element of our being. It is not just one part of a religion that resides in one aspect of my compartmentalized life. As we present the gospel, we must advance this message of the gospel’s holistic affects. Our churches must fight against becoming some kind of storehouse containing a bunch of smaller, fragmented ministries that have nothing to do with each other. The result, far too often, is competition, which kills the opportunity for meaningful movements to gain momentum.

From:                                                   To:
Programmatic             –>                Organic

Churches have built and relied on programs for far too long. Now, programs are needed; however, a reliance on programs can become nothing more than spiritually-anemic time-fillers. When I think about the word organic I think of authentic community. Sadly, very little discipleship takes place in the average church outside of a program. Why? isn’t that a picture of a believer who is growing and maturing in discipleship? Why does discipleship have to take place within a scheduled program? It simply doesn’t. In fact, I believe that the most effective discipleship takes place outside of the church, as a result of a believer simply initiating a relationship wherein he/she intentionally speaks the Word into the life of another young believer. This is organic. Organic is Spirit-led. Not that the Spirit is completely shut out from all church programs, but when a believer takes the initiative to minister, mentor, disciple, etc…on his/her own, the Spirit’s leadership and prompting is evident. Also, the dependency of that believer on the Spirit throughout the process of discipleship is enhanced because the safety walls of a program are not there to provide what can become hindering comfort. Almost all incredible movements in our world today are a result of such organic initiative that gains momentum from the bottom up.

Just some things to think about…

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad –

I Married my bride, Erin, in 2003. We have 3 children: Emma, Elijah, and Lydia. I have served full-time on staff at Westwood Baptist Church, in Roxboro, NC, since summer of 2006 as Pastor of Students & Discipleship. I am currently enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing my Doctorate of Education.

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