The Struggle of Motive

posted by Jeffrey on Tuesday, September 13, 2005 at 7:52 AM


*I've moved, and my posts have come with me! Check out my new blog at www.jeffrey-davis.net/blog/*

If you didn't already know, this blog (like it says in the sidebar) is "Chronicling the mysterious adventure of being formed by God into a new community of faith (church) in a postmodern world...". Seemingly built into this adventure, however, are many dangers such as relying on "misplaced dependencies" (to quote a couple of friends), using alterior motives, falling prey to control issues, etc, etc, etc. The struggle that we've most recently been involved in is that of our motives.

Here are some questions that are bouncing around in our heads and in our conversations lately. Why is it important to invite people to be a part of this community of faith identified as "the Gathering"? When we do invite people to hang out and join with us, is it because we truly care about journeying with them as God brings about spiritual formation in all of our lives, or is it because we just 'want more people' to be a part of "the Gathering"? If the answer is the latter, then why? What is the obsession that "churches" have with the number of people they claim as their "members"? And truly, what do "numbers" represent or prove that is of worth or value???

Many more thoughts in that line of questioning have and are sure to arise still, but that is the basic trajectory that they have set out on. I sincerely hope that as God moves us to invite people to journey with us as "the Gathering", that we will do so because we genuinely believe that living in connectedness with other follower of Jesus is an important (but still merely one) facet of spiritual growth and formation; and that perhaps a community of faith will be able to more greatly impact and befriend the communities in which we live our daily lives. I do so dearly hope that this is our motivation, not that we are subconsciously obsessed with building yet another structure, another organization, or another kingdom of our own...

Just a little afterthought: This post wasn't meant to imply or hint at anything specific. It wasn't meant to say we have it right and mega-churches have it wrong. It was simply meant to be an open and authentic musing of "the struggle we find ourselves in"...

5 Comments:

Anonymous Britt said...

May I just say that God is good...all the time, and all the time...God is good? Less than an hour ago I read this entry, and then I sat down to do some of my Intro. to Christian Ministry homework. I turned to the chapter for the day, which was so perfectly titled "the Church Growth Movement." haha! So, I thought I would share some quotes from this chapter to keep you guys thinking...

"Church growth...coined by Donald A. McGavran...describes 'all that is involved in bringing men and women who do not have a personal relationship to Jesus Christ into fellowship with HIm and into responsible church membership.'"

"Technically, church growth is a contemporary missions movement stressing a scientific approach to planting, multiplying, nurturing, and renewing churches. It is based on a pragmatic analysis of existing churches, and it emphasizes numerical growth as an indication of church health."

Is this always true???

"Unity, not uniformity, is God's desire for His people."
Amen!

Well, I hope this spurs on great "conversation" with you guys! I miss and love you all so much!!! I am praying for you.

September 14, 2005 3:10 PM

 
Blogger fr'nklin said...

Jeffrey,
Hey...I followed you here from your post over at "Vintage Faith"...hope you don't mind me responding to you HERE instead of there.

Great question...what is our MOTIVE in this idea of a "multi-venue" church. MY motive is to help us with the issue of shepherding one another. We are so big and so disconnected. I feel a longing in many for LESS that is, in the end, MORE. Less programs...more relationships (men w/ men and women w/ women, couples, etc.). Less about excellence and more about authenticity. You get the picture. Less about worship and more about discipleship. Less about US and mroe about them.

I wonder...can two bodies w/ different approaches to "ministry" co-exist as ONE church meeting in two venues? What advantage does the ONENESS bring? Why not just plant another church? I guess my motive for us staying connected is a commitment to legitimizing both approaches to "ministry". I dunno...feel lost in that answer right now. Thanks for the provocative thoughts.

September 15, 2005 2:53 PM

 
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Fr'nklin, first let me reference this link to the convo started at Dan's blog for all who are basically jumping in during the middle of it. By the way, for those of you who head over to Dan's blog, you have to read the comments from bottom to top--kinda wierd.

Ok, I'm totally stoked that God is moving you and your crew to prayerfully meditate about this decision before making it. You said, "can two bodies w/ different approaces to ministry co-exist as one church meeting in two veunues?" Let me back up a couple of steps...when you say "different approaches to ministry", do you mean simply different styles or truly different approaches entirely? The answer to that question will greatly affect the decesion God has before you.

Cool convo, looking forward to more of it...Grace and peace

September 15, 2005 3:07 PM

 
Blogger fr'nklin said...

Hey, thanks for responding...I've been out of pocket a few days. So, what do I mean by "different approaches to ministry". Is it style or truly different approaches? It depends on when you ask me...

Our church is focused on Sunday a.m., excellence, programs, etc. I believe "ministry" is more about less - LESS programs, MORE relational discipleship, LESS on overseas missions, MORE on our common mission, LESS on buildings and MORE on community. LESS about Elders on boards and MORE about Elders shepherding people. Everything here is complex - policies, procedures, business - and I'm thinking SIMPLE. Don't know if that helps...

Sometimes I think it's two different worlds...but I want to stay as connected as possible.

September 16, 2005 5:04 PM

 
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Cool ideas. i feel where you're coming from. Tell me, what do you see the benefits would be in both starting a new worship venu AND in being formed into a new community of faith entirely?

Wouldn't the former make things more complex for your local faith community? ;-)

September 16, 2005 5:59 PM

 

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