Monday, October 16, 2006

Organic Church Quotes #6...

Contemplating Mark 4...The Parable of the Sower...



"We compromise the life of the church if we keep bad soil in our membership. We make church a show that requires the audience to make little or no effort. If someone is willing to come to our service once a week for a little more than an hour and sit passively watching others do the work, then they are considered members in good standing, no matter what the rest of their week is like. One can be totally uncommitted to the Kingdom, distracted by the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things, and still be a member of our church, complete with a smiling photo in our church directory."



This statement should jolt all of us...be honest...share your thoughts in the comments.

5 comments:

Mark W. said...

I am often that person. If by "committed" one means active involvement in a church-sponsored ministry, then I could be seen as passive; however, that doesn't mean that I am complacent in my own life or that I live any way that I want the rest of the week. I consider my teaching to be my most significant avenue for modelling "Christlikeness," and I put effort into my career beyond that of teaching (i.e. studying, writing, etc.) which I consider an act of service to God and to my family.

I think that there are a lot of smiling faces in church directories of people who are decent, true Christians, but who, for whatever reason, feel disconnected or unable to involve themselves in ministries that are already established. Rather than throw these good people out like barren soil, why not try watering them first with a refreshing spirit of friendship and goodwill. This is the first "Organic Church" quote that seems unnecessarily negative to me. When farmers' soil begins to lose its nutrients, the farmer doesn't give up and move - he plants legumes to re-enrich the soil.

In the church, there needs to be less throwing away of soil, and more planting of legumes, if you get my meaning.

BTW...where's the next installment of "rear view mirror," man? I am waiting, my finger poised over the "refresh" button. :)

dean said...

i hope i dont come across as down on deacons, but the last part of this quote reminds me of so many of them that just dont get, or have never had it modeled for or explained to them, what exactly a deacon does (actually, if we're to consider them for deacon service in the first place, it shouldnt have to be explained to them, they should be immersed enough in the Word to know the role of a deacon). we have too many deacon "boards", "running" too many of our churches, when we should have deacon MINISTERS, SERVING our church members.

mark, i dont necessarily see in the quote a mandate to "throw out" unproductive or disenfranchised church members. that is the beauty (to me anyway) of the purpose driven strategy... it encourages Christians to discover their spiritual gift(s), and empowers them to go out and use their talents and gifts to bring in the harvest and grow the Kingdom.

i do believe the quote contains an indictment of church leadership that puts on a "show", where the focus is on the folks leading the so-called worship, rather than the focus being on Jesus, and then on the training and equipping of the church members to go out and BE Jesus, i.e., do the ministry of His church. this is where the bean planting should be happening.

TJ said...

I think that the quote is being said thinking of the distintion between corporate members and members of the congregation. In my fellowship, if you don't tithe, havent' attended a service in 3 months, are living in obvious unrepented sin or are spreading dissention in the church; you can't be a corporate member in good standing - which means you can't vote (after all, the fruit show you may be one who is not hearing from God, so why should it be allowed to have a "member" make a carnally-minded decision on a spiritual matter such as voting on a pastor). However, many churches don't deal with this.

As to what Dean is saying about deacons: When the government set up rules for non-profit status, it was mandated that the organization had a board of directors for financial accountability. Church leaders then had a crazy idea to give a spiritual title to a carnal position (nonetheless necessary position). But because most churches don't want to rock the boat too much, they won't seperate the titles of Deacon (spiritual servant-leader) and Administrative Board (legal entity for financial and fisical accountability).

Jimmy Way Out In West Texas said...

Everyone should be welcome to ATTEND church, the good the bad and the ugly so to speak. They are free to attend, be watered, nourished and given every opportunity to grow, and become ready to bear fruit.
But when we are talking "Church Membership" that is another story. In my opinion it should be a privilege reserved for the fruit bearing Christian. Considering that by some estimates 80% of church members are not even born again Christians I do not believe that the quote is unneccesarily negative. What are all these dead plants doing on the church roles anyway? I believe that for too long we have been focused on "numbers." Wanting to add to the church role so much that we have been willing to look away from issues such as are they really Christians, will they be fruit bearing members, have they accepted the Lordship of Christ, and what do they believe.
Many churchs who have added such numbers to the church have discovered that 40% or less of those numbers attend 3 services a week, can't find enough Sunday school teachers and have no one willing to enrolled in evangelism efforts.
Of these numbers added to the church one study shows that 93% have never led a single person to salvation in Christ!
It is time that pruning of the dead branches on the church membership rolls take place. But I pity the pastor that tries to do it!

Jimmy Way Out In West Texas said...

Everyone should be welcome to ATTEND church, the good the bad and the ugly so to speak. They are free to attend, be watered, nourished and given every opportunity to grow, and become ready to bear fruit.
But when we are talking "Church Membership" that is another story. In my opinion it should be a privilege reserved for the fruit bearing Christian. Considering that by some estimates 80% of church members are not even born again Christians I do not believe that the quote is unneccesarily negative. What are all these dead plants doing on the church roles anyway? I believe that for too long we have been focused on "numbers." Wanting to add to the church role so much that we have been willing to look away from issues such as are they really Christians, will they be fruit bearing members, have they accepted the Lordship of Christ, and what do they believe.
Many churchs who have added such numbers to the church have discovered that 40% or less of those numbers attend 3 services a week, can't find enough Sunday school teachers and have no one willing to enrolled in evangelism efforts.
Of these numbers added to the church one study shows that 93% have never led a single person to salvation in Christ!
It is time that pruning of the dead branches on the church membership rolls take place. But I pity the pastor that tries to do it!