I dare you to move…(Version 2.0)

26 Mar

So after thinking through my blog from a couple of days ago, I thought that I could word it and explain it a little better.  So here is version 2 that will better explain this paradigm shift that I am talking about.

A “paradigm” is defined as, “a typical example or pattern of something; a model; a worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.”

Therefore, what is being proposed is a change in the way that the church thinks about reaching people day in and day out.  It’s not about a building or a plan.  It’s about a people who are ‘called out’ in order to be sent back into the community to shine the glory of God to others.  In order to recapture this missional nature and calling of being sent, the church must renew it’s heart with and for the Gospel.  In his book, The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons writes, “The first things for the Christian is to recover the Gospel – to relearn and fall in love again with that historic, beautiful, redemptive, faithful, demanding, reconciling, all-powerful, restorative, atoning, grace-abounding, soul-quenching, spiritually fulfilling good news of God’s love.”

We have to rediscover our love for the Gospel and everything that it entails for the believer.  Lyons goes on to say,

“Early followers of Jesus showed up and exemplified what restoration living looked like.  They befriended people who were different from them and served those in need.  And somehow along the way, evangelism took place.”

If we, as Christians, will learn to live out the Gospel in our everyday lives in such as way that we shine God’s glory to those around us, evangelism will become a much easier process.  Our paradigm shift must come in the form of a realization that the church cannot sit in its buildings and wait for the people to come to it.  Christians must become intimately involved in the community in which they live.  Christians must seek to bring peace, to be a blessing, and to extend God’s kingdom to the community around them.  These are major aspects of our calling as the church in the culture around us.

This is where the new direction and paradigm shift for our church enters the picture.  We want the church to go in the direction of running a business that will add value to the surrounding community.  Rather than building church buildings that are primarily used for church purposes, we want to create community buildings [aka businesses] that will primarily be used by the community.  In other words, church space that the community uses, we are talking about a community space that the church uses.  In his book, Surprised By Worship, Travis Cottrell writes, “How many times do our confining perceptions of corporate worship hold us back from truly communing with God?”

We have to break out of the same confining mold that the church has lived in for the past 100 years, and we have to begin to think differently as we approach ministry.   The way we are talking about doing things is different, and that is totally okay.  This is a paradigm shift that, prayerfully, will impact the church world as well as the community.  The mission of God is why we exist, so to continue pursuing the same modus operandi of the past 1700 years because it is comfortable is wrong.  The mission should drive the church, even if it means changing the way we ‘do’ or ‘think’ about church.  We have to come to the point where we are okay with being different from other people and approach ministry differently in order to reach people that are not currently being reached.  We believe that this will be a successful avenue to travel because 1) there is a biblical warrant for it, 2) our economy works off of small businesses, 3) it creates a space and platform by which we can take the Gospel to our city, 4) the small business and the church can be mutual beneficiaries, and 5) it will become a church planting model.

 

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