When I consider our church and the responsibility of building it and growing and and nurturing it in the right direction, I am humbled by the thought.
I just saw an episode of The Restaurant and how the chef, Rocco, has to deal with just a host of problems to keep his restaurant moving in the right direction. He has to keep the food warm, the employees happy, and the atmosphere positive. He has processes to manage, people to schmooz, fires to put out constantly. After the show ended, I began to reflect on how similar this always to our church.
But then I realized that the similarity wasn’t that great. It was so tempting to make that leap, but there is a big difference.
The Church is not an organization; this is where my mistake is. It is not a matter of simply implementing the right processes, creating the right programs, recruiting the right personnel, etc. It’s not about adapting Jack Welch’s or Stephen McCovey’s theories into how we do church. I read “The Purpose-Driven Church” and I realize that, as successful as the church is, the tempting conclusion is that if we take the marketing and consumer principles and apply them to the church, then the church will be successful! I read about cell group models and the tempting conclusion is that this model is the key to growing the church. But this is all so misleading…especially since so many church have implemented these church growth models and have looked successful doing it!
My conclusion is that I need to abandon my hunch that the church is just another organization…a Rotary club for Jesus. No, it is an organism, a living entity. Morever, they key to “success” is not simply implementing the right process (b/c programs are so passee!), but relying on the Spirit’s power. I’m not saying that we need to be mindless as we approach the church, but we need not “trust in chariots”. Use them, but don’t put your trust in them. Because the church is born of God’s will, not man’s.
What am I saying? I can’t rely on my own smarts, the “proven” methods of others, or any thing related that stuff. I can think, I can read books, talk to experts, and all that. But when it comes down to it, this church is God’s, and unless we’re hooked up with him, we’re not doing anything that, at least in God’s eyes, resembles a church.