There’s a thunderstorm ripping through my town right now. To get my mind off the pain it’s causing, I put “Semi Pro” on. The very last thing you hear in the movie is “It’s like the Titanic, only filled with bears.”
Yesterday, I went over to Fair Haven and met w/ Doug Mclintic and some other good friends. We had a conversation about creating a sustainable church multiplication movement. Honestly, I felt it was the most important and necessary conversation we’ve ever had as a group. There’s a lot of tension out there about what the next few years will mean to paid clergy and churches in general. I felt a little awkward in that our group, Tapestry, isn’t really set up in the same way the others are. In that, our missional life isn’t directly tied to money in any real way. Our “budget” is really just that we apply 10% of whatever comes in to a few items and that’s it. 90% goes back to local communities. So, people really aren’t giving to “us” as much as they give to their own communities.
That makes me think of the image of the Titanic. I mean, in some real ways the American Christian Church has been building bigger and bigger ships that seem to be indestructible. Yet, even though they glide across the water with ease, they too are vulnerable to the changing seas and the hidden ice bergs in the water. For some, their ice berg comes in the form of scandal (see Ted Haggerd), for others their ice berg is the failing economy, still others will crumble around consumption and consumers themselves unhappy with their christian product. How long do we continue to build these massive beasts? When will wake up to the new technology for spirit travel? We no longer live in a trans-atlantic age, we now live in an ever connected web planet that is filled with everything from jets to mopeds. Smaller is the new Mega.
In order to grow, Churches must re-think “growth” itself. It’s time to learn how to step back and let the Spirit raise up and ignite a swell of Church that doesn’t look anything like anything we have dared to imagine. God’s vision is always bigger than what we can imagine. His plans are more expensive than we can afford on our own…and here’s a hint, He wins.
What if we started celebrating the one or two people who are becoming dazzeled with Jesus rather than the thousand of people who can barely remember what it is to be dazzeled with him? What if we spent more time with real people rather than pleasing the “insiders” who worry more about music styles than souls?