Twelve Priorities I Would Pursue If I Church-Planted Again

Dr. Michael Goheen led an excellent session that I wanted to post some of his comments and thoughts here. (The mp3 with the full session should be up in a week or so from the Acts 29 Regional Church Conference ).

1. Church with faithful and relevant worship.

a. Our worship ought to be missional (oriented to the world).
b. Our worship is an end in itself (oriented to God).

If you want to be relevant you are always in danger of absorbing the idols of your culture.  Trying to avoid this by using 'traditional' worship from the 17th Century only absorbs the idols of Enlightenment.  People may do this to avoid the pomo idol of emotionalism and others.

2. A church immersed in the biblical story

A story is the best way to tell people the way things really are.  History has a beginning, a goal and meaning.  We all will live out of some story.  It isn't a matter of whether, but which story.  The dominate story in western Christianity is idolatrist.   When the bible is broken into little bits or systematics these pieces fit into the listeners existing framework they've adopted.  It is possible to become a theologically orthodox, morally upright, warmly pious and driven by idolatry.

Why we like Paul but are afraid of Jesus.  We (in the West) like Paul more than Jesus.  We think he is systematics.  Paul takes one of the benefits (justification/adoption) that the Galatians & Romans needed to hear.  Of course, we don't understand Paul.  Authority of New Testament Scriptures  If you start with Jesus (Gospel & Kingdom) all these other things fall into this.  Paul (end of Acts) teaching the Kingdom of God.  We are previews of the Kingdom of God

3. A church devoted to communal prayer

Western Christians are generally a prayer-less people.  Our secular worldview has made us much better at planning than praying.

a. More we see the significance of prayer, the more significant small groups becomes.
b. More time we will spend time as leaders praying.

4. A church of well-trained leaders

A missional leader is one who can say, "Follow me as I follow Christ."  Often we look to someone who has the gifts, rather than if this person is following Christ and people are following them.

5. A church with parents trained to take up the task of nurturing children in faith

6. A church with small groups that nurture for mission in the world

Small groups have a tendency to become introverted, rather than praying/thinking/acting outwardly. Being the people of God for 'that place' as they go in their area and ask people what their needs are.  We want to love, pray and meet your needs.

7. A church that seeks and expresses the unity of body Christ

8 A church that understands its cultural context

The US and Canada more unaware of it's own story than any other culture.  (I'll do a full post on some ideas from this…)

The two dangerous myths in Christianity

1. Myth of a Christian culture
2. We are a secular neutral culture

Kraemer there is a tension between these idols and our true story.  The deeper the consciousness of the tension and the urge to take this yoke upon itself are felt, the healthier the Church is. The more oblivious of this tension the Church is, the more well established and at home in this world it feels, the more it is in deadly danger of being the salt that has lost its savour.Kraemer, Hendrik. 1956. The Communication of the Christian Faith. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 36.

9. A church trained for a missionary encounter in their callings in the world

Not one square inch exists that isn't claimed by Christ.

10.  Church that is deeply involved in the needs of their neighborhood and world.

11. Church trained to do evangelism in an organic (not methodological) way

Proselytizing vs. Evangelism "We spend more time trying to convince people rather than telling them the good news." The average person who becomes a Christian has had 8 encounters w/ other Christians.

12. Church committed to missions 

Missions is specific mission trips to unreached people.  Mission is what every church is on in their local community