Thursday, June 15, 2006

First thoughts about conference...


My first two points are related to each other. Lately, I've felt that while all these sorts of issues are important (homosexuality, the war, our borders with Mexico, etc...), they really serve to distract our attention away from the more important things: growing our church. Making disciples of Christ.

I attended a workshop by Curtis Brown, New England's director of Congregational Development. The "learning center" wasn't that fruitful (my small group wasn't terribly productive), but he made a presentation on Natural Church Development, which I thought was well as mind-blowingly simple. All it really takes is a commitment to critique yourself (as a church) and work on your weaknessess.

Too many of our churches are stuck in the 1950's, not realizing that we can't simply open our doors and expect throngs of people to come streaming through. We expect people to come to them, when in reality, we should be going out to the community. We should be actively figuring out what the needs are in the area around us and determine how best to serve those needs. Making people feel valued and wanted is the first step to getting them into the church and helping them along the path of discipleship. If you can't get them in the door, then this isn't going to happen. This isn't rocket-science.

I really feel like if people were committed to doing actual ministry, a lot of these other symptomatic issues (arguments over homosexuality and the like) would not go away, but I feel like the arguments would be more spiritually and ministerially framed. We'd be debating about these things more from experience rather than from our theological ideologies. And while I do believe that there is experience that factors into arguments on either side, it's largely about theology and not about ministry.

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