Living Church

What does God think about church?

It’s a good question. I’ve thought a lot about it lately.

Early in my Christian life, I never asked that question.  It never occurred to me. What mattered most to me was – what do I think about church?  How do I see it? Predictably, my answer changed a lot, depending on my experience.  Good experience with church – church is awesome! Let’s get involved!  Bad experience with church – church sucks. Who needs it?

Which leads to another question – what do people around me think about church?  Lots of people have opinions on church these days. Many are disappointed with the church. Some have simply walked away.  Others are redefining church, experimenting with “home” church models. Some do sermon podcasts or a digital worship download and call it good.

OK. I get it.

Then, one day something happened in my heart: I started asking a different question.  I began to wonder what God thinks about church.  I’m not sure exactly why, or when this happened to me. I began to realize: what matters most is not what I think about the church, or what my friends think, or even the culture around me.  What matters is God. How does God see it?  It hit me like a load of bricks. What matters is God – his view, his heart, his opinion of the church.  So, what is that?

My first impulse was simply to assume that God thinks/feels exactly like I do on the subject. End of discussion.  Oh wow, I was right all along! Of course, it’s simple, God is smart. He and I see eye to eye!

But that won’t do.

So, I went on a personal quest.  It’s been several years now. I’m still on the quest.  I’m digging into God’s Word to find answers. I’m praying and thinking and talking to people who are on the same quest. We’re asking questions like this: What does God think about church? How does God see it? What would happen if we adjusted our own thinking? What would happen if we thought about church like God does? What would happen if we had God’s heart and vision for his church? What would that look like?  What would it mean, in actual practice for us, in how we do church?

Over the next several months, at River West Church, we’ll be asking these questions together as a congregation. Our sermon series – Living Church – will fill in some of the answers.  Our Community Groups will take the discussion further and help us move into the practices of a Living Church – which is another way of saying, “Church as God sees it.”  Please join us in prayer and worship as we set out on this quest together.  I am more convinced than ever that, right now in our lives and our world, nothing matters more.

 

Two Years Later

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My last post was titled: “Input”.  That was my sign-off from blog-post land as we headed out for our sabbatical.

Input was the perfect theme for the Sabbatical: Israel, Paris, and finally Oxford for guided research at the Center for Muslim Studies.  So thankful for those months!

Today I’m sitting on the porch at a friends home on Thetis Island, BC Canada.  The sun in going down; a BC ferry pushing past us just on the horizon; and there are blue patches peaking out from scattered grey clouds above us.

Just finished up a week of intense focus on a writing project with Christopher Coffman, fellow pastor and ministry partner at River West Church.  What a rich time!

Looking forward to the week ahead just hanging out with my amazing bride, sharing the beauty of Vancouver Island.

And thinking about the merits of firing up the Salt and Stir Blog posts once again.  Or not.

Input!

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If you’re engaged in pastoral ministry, you’re almost always in output mode.  The heart of ministry is bringing something meaningful into the lives of others.  It could be teaching or preaching, counseling, mentoring, writing, caring for the hurting, building ministries, etc.

That’s why seasons of input are so crucial and appreciated.  That’s what the Sabbatical season is all about: input!

So, it looks like it’s time to change gears for a few months and switch to input mode.

That’s why you probably won’t be seeing any new posts on my blog site for the next few months.  Hopefully, post-sabbatical, there will be lots more fresh output flowing into these posts.

Your prayers are appreciated over the next few months. Pray for good input!