Friday, April 30, 2004

Two Theories to Try On You
Today I had a phone call from a lady from So. Cal. with questions about how we do what we do as Apex. I have the privilege/challenge of such phone calls at least once or twice each month. I found myself throwing out two ideas that I have come to believe, and I thought I'd throw them out here for all those in blog-dom to read as well . . . .

1) People in general can not be accurately labelled as "churched" or "unchurched" anymore (or even "believers" or non-believers"). Sure, some people fit completely into one of those labels. But most people do not. Most of us have a complicated, even bizarre, spiritual story. People's stories are often a stew made up of ingredients borrowed from the kitchen cupboards of life. They've dabbled in a little of this and a little of that.

As those loved by Father, we aren't so much trying to identify who is "churched" (so we can get them to jump over into our brand of church) and who is "unchurched" (so we can save their souls from fiery damnation) as we are looking for occassions to come alongside others journeyng through life to see where our stories and theirs might intersect and where we may help each other grow. We trust our Father will use us through these intersections to reach out to others.

2) Successful, large churches (although good in many ways) are going to miss out on reaching two kinds of people.

The first kind are those who will never come to anything called "church" (no matter how far the church stretches to reach them -- even if the church serves beer and hires strippers, there are some people who just aint coming if it is called church!).

The second kind are those on the opposite extreme who have been so reached by the church, who have jumped through every hoop offered by the church to the extent that they, in a sense, have grown beyond what the model has to offer. They are ready to go out and live lives loved by Father, embracing freedom, sharing life in their spiritual community, and sharing love with the world. They have drained everything they can out of the large, succesful church, and in many cases, they have given all they can in service through those churches. They are ready and equipped to be sent out.

Large, successful churches may well have an important function for years to come. However, their ultimate success may depend upon their ability to appropriately acknowledge and deal with the fact that they are limited from reaching these two extreme groups of people, both of which are a growing part of the population in North America.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Last night was the first time Rebekah and spent time with some of my new law school friends. I was exhausted and didn't want to go, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences in recent memory. I'm looking forward to more time to develop these friendships. I have been missing this part of life for way too long.

Last year when I was struggling with the decision about going back to school, one person looked me in the eye and said whatever I decided to do, I needed to have fun with it. Last night was the first time I really did that.