the homogeneous local church

A couple of years ago a friend told me that they didn’t like what was happening in America. They weren’t making a political statement so much as it was simply a statement about sameness. They were frustrated that no matter where they went in America there seemed to be the same big box retail stores, the same fast food joints, the same home improvement stores, the same clothing stores, everywhere they turned there just seemed to be more of the same. There has been a lot of contributing factors along the way, not the least of which are technology, sociology, some good marketing, and a void of critical thinking and leadership. But the real problem is that this sameness has crept into the church. In response to this issue of sameness, Howard Hendricks said it this way, “If you’re just like somebody else, we don’t need you.” The Scriptures would teach us that the beauty of the Body of Christ, His Bride, the Church is that we are not the same and it is in our uniqueness that we need each other to be and do something together that we could never be or do alone. So how do we avoid homogony? In an age when anywhere America looks the same as anywhere else America, how do we avoid sameness in the local church? Here are a couple questions that may get you going in the right direction.

#1 Why did God bring us here in the first place?

Do you remember why you landed where you landed to begin with? Do you remember how your heart burned with passion and zeal to be obedient to the calling the Lord placed in front of you? Where did that go? Sometimes a great place to start in moving forward is doing some reflection about where you came from and how you got to be where you are.

#2 What is happening in the community that you’re in?

Proximity demands responsibility. Another way to put it would be to ask, what are the unique issues that are occurring in the community that your church is in and what are you doing about it? God has intentionally placed you in the community that you’re in to address the unique issues of your location. Don’t assume that someone else is going to tackle it. It’s your responsibility it’s your calling, if not you, then who?

#3 What resources are available to us?

What unique and perhaps hidden opportunities do you have in the talents, gifts and passion of the people on your team, the monetary resources available to you, and the timing of what is happening in and around the church that you are leading? Learning to effectively leverage the resources that the Lord has made available to you is paramount in determining direction.

#4 What are your limiting factors?

Often times the best and most innovative solutions are expressed through effective and creative problem solving that come as a result of limiting factors. Instead of getting frustrated, deflated, and giving up as a result of your limiting factors, make the conscious choice to do the hard work to be creative and allow God to do something fresh through you.

#5 What is God saying to us?

How much time have you and the trusted leaders around you spent on your knees asking God to speak? How much time have you spent listening? Often times we get stuck in the rut of being so busy trying to keep the plates spinning (by the way most of which is born more out of insecurity than anything else) and working ourselves to death that we’re simply too busy to slow down and listen to the Lord and which direction he wants us to lead.

If you want to take this conversation a bit further, I’d suggest picking up a copy of Will Mancini’s “Church Unique” http://www.churchunique.com/ and see where it leads you.

Posted in Leadership

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