A Significant Shift

Sometimes I have to remind myself that many of my beliefs today seemed like revolutionary ideas to me only a year ago. It is good for me to remember the process of having my eyes opened. I was completely immersed in charismatic church culture. I had never imagined other forms of church, nor had I questioned the relevancy or effectiveness of the church system.

If this very system had not betrayed me, I believe I would have continued full throttle in promoting it. At the time, I was convinced that it was what God was doing, and I was determined to be wholeheartedly involved in His work. I had to be shaken in order to recognize my dependence on this church culture. I often wonder if what happened to us at the hands of our brothers was actually God shaking me loose from this system in order to be able to see what He is doing.

My questioning led me to challenging assumptions and mindsets about church, particularly about structure and leadership. My beliefs have shifted so radically within a year that most people would not understand how I could change so drastically from being a strong promoter.

In “The Shaping of Things to Come,” Frost and Hirsch said:

“Without being too dramatic, this is precisely what is needed for missional leaders and radical disciples who know that the urgency of the day requires a significant shift from the predominant image of “church.”

There are many who are willing to step away from places of security and importance, those without a need to preserve and protect tradition, willing to venture into the unknown and sometimes the obscure, determined to manifest the life of Jesus today, groups of loosely connected individuals intent on being the church every moment of their lives, envisioning and creating fresh ways of gathering to encourage and support one another on their mission of building the kingdom in their midst.

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4 thoughts on “A Significant Shift

  1. Hi grace,

    I connected through David Cho.

    Interesting comments on the state of the Church and blind faith. There is an awakening happening, isn’t there? My wife and I are worship leaders at our fellowship here in Ontario, Canada. We have chosen to remain connected and involved but at times I know I could easily drop it all. We don’t NEED it. You know. We do what we do because of service to the body. We sometimes question leadership and direction because it seems to perpetuate the same thing. Milk drinkers. We want to see meat eaters. Thinkers. People who ask questions and people who aren’t afraid to give answers even if it means “I don’t know right now”. Relying on the next “word” for direction has created blind dependance on fallible leadership. Where is the reading and studying and reliance on the Word. Why don’t people want to use the brains God has given them.

    We took two years off after our last church plant. We built the worship team and youth group from scratch. Three and a half years of sticking in there while we both worked full-time jobs. The senior pastors were desparate for growth. God had “words” for us about every four months. Change direction. This, that, the other thing. They tried to tell us to take on things we hadn’t agreed to. I stuck to my guns. No way. We were called here for this purpose and we will do what we’ve all agreed to. We finished off “successfully”(if you could call it that)and moved back “home”. We’ve been involved for a year again. We’ve built three worship teams including a youth worship team from nothing. The last worship leaders were over-spent and had to leave. They left nothing.
    Now we’re on the edge of getting more involved and I constantly ask myself if we should. We’ve just been approved for ordination. We have a vision for a youth church but certainly not to funnel them into the existing structure.

    Hmmm…

    Stop by my blog and read some of my stuff in the section titled, “The View”.

    Also, my sister and brother-in-law are starting an artists fellowship in another city nearby. You can get there through “Blazing the Way” in The Roll.

    It’s about people after all. That’s why Christ came. I think we’d all do well to just love our neighbors as ourselves. Programs can be good but when the machine becomes the monster, it’s time to rethink things.

    Thanks for your blog post.

  2. Hey Grace,

    You took the words out of my mouth. Because of the pastor’s charismatic (small c) personality, I couldn’t imagine a better place to “worship God and grow spiritually.”

    I got to be “proud” of my church situation, and looked down on others who didn’t quite have it as good as I did. The fact is, I was under the spell and deceived.

    Didn’t realize this until the system betrayed me as you say. Had I been more accepted (which would have been the case had I worked harder to conform), I still would have been there swearing by the system and betting my life on it.

    As a side note, the church I am refering to is very much anti-Charismatic. It is a magnet for disillusioned ex-Charismatics and a story like yours would serve as fodder to their anti-Charismatic stance. Alas, what I see happening is a lot of these disillusioned people jumping out of the frying pan to the fire. John MacArthur is great at identifying problems with the charismatic movement, but his answers amount to rigid legalism which I think is worse.

    What I have learned is, asking great questions does not equate to having great answers. He asks great questions indeed, not just about the Charistmatic movement, but a host of other issues. It’s just that his answers are hedious.

    Great post

  3. Hi Max, Nice to meet you.

    It sounds like you have been involved in some exciting things. Possibly God is positioning you to bring changes from within the church you are a part of. Your position with the youth and the chance to teach new mindsets about what church is all about is an exciting opportunity.

    I don’t think God is going to abandon all the old structures. He is already at work in many of them and in the hearts of people involved. I think there are many men and women who will hear what God is saying and be obedient to walk it out.

    It will be up to each of us to find that place in the body where He can best use us.

  4. David,
    It would be nice if all of our churches were truly communities of grace, wouldn’t it.

    I think that disillusionment can be useful when we channel into a right perspective and expectation of what church should be.

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