January 20, 2006

Successful Church

On his site a while ago, Phillip posed some questions and I thought I'd answer them in the form of a post;

"A woman asked me this week what I think makes a successful church. You tell me.. what makes a successful church? Is it possible to have a truly "successful" church in these modern times? Do you know of any successful churches/What do they do?"

To me, a "successful church" is a very idealogical thing. The concept of a successful church is so far from me. I suppose that is bred from my discontent with my current church and the way they view a "successful ministry". Rather than radiating God's passion, truth, grace, power, and beauty, we've become accustomed to metering our ministry by the amount of attendees and members, or the grandeur of their facility. I know this isn't true of all churches-- it's not even true of all big churches, but the mentality is spreading fast, and I hate to see passion snuffed out by something so wrong.

On the flip side, I think that in order to have a successful church, Christians would have to change drastically. They would have to rid themselves of stigmatisms, stereotypes, and judgements they have toward non Christians. The only way we can get the Gospel to people successfully (which is the objective of a successful church) is to realize that we, as Christians, need Christ JUST as much as they do. JUST as much. God is a rescuer. He rescued us and placed us in a body of believers that could potentially be so great if we just tried... if we stopped thinking about what pragmatic ideas we could use to reach people (rather than filling pews, we touched hearts), and we made sure that every moment of our lives is governed by the idea that we are here to glorify God and love others feircely.

The success of a Biblical church isn't in the intensity of the worship, the magnificence of the preaching, the number of people, or the size of a building-- it's in the hearts of the people, because that is what The Church is; a body of God-fearing believers who are ready and willing to step out and fervently minister to those around them, regardless of who they are, where they come from, how they live, or where they're at currently.

"I want neither a blood'n'guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero, nor a speculative religion that would imprison the Gospel in the halls of academia, nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion. I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a Church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst." - Brennan Manning

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