Let’s Make A Deal

Let’s Make A Deal April 27, 2007

You are looking for a church. Here are your choices:

(a) A once-Charismatic congregation that’s transitioned away from those roots to a hyper-cautious blend of seeker-Reformed.
(b) A church with a bit of an identity crisis that belongs to a fundy-holiness denomination, but has positioned itself in the emerging stream, ancient-future variety.
(c) A highly programmed big box where the paid staff are leading the key ministries, a fleet of volunteers reports to the staff, filling slots on an org chart
(d) A small and getting smaller church riddled with complacency and compromise

The standard answers are – go where God has called you; look to see where your theology and gifts best match; pray.

What happens when you’ve done those things for three years and nothing happens? “Nothing” here means that you become a butt in the pew for an hour or so each week.

Is it too much to ask for leadership you can respect and trust, and that leadership’s willingness to empower and equip people to do meaningful ministry? Is it too much to ask for good theology, an embrace of the life of the Spirit, a passion for souls, and a sense of community?


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  • Greg

    Indeed. The lack of options is disheartening and the state of affairs lamentable. No, in response to your questions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

    Having lived in Christian community for over twenty years, I’m hopeful that we will see a change in direction; becoming more community orientated, better theology, leadership, passion, and in turn that this may answer some of your well put questions with a fufilling response.

  • Jessica

    I thought I left a message on this post. Maybe I didn’t. Or did you erase it?

    All I wrote was that I think my church in L’ville is probably option d. I’ve decided that the mission trip is my last big thing with the church and am happy to say that I will probably be going back to Woodstock AG. Either that or Arlington Heights EVFree with Seth. I’m leaning towards Woodstock.

    Have some questions I need to ask Bill for another paper. I’ll leave a comment on his sight, but maybe if you want to mention it to him. Do you think he’d do it? You two have been very active in my classes this semester! If I pass them, it’s all KUDOS to you and Bill!

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Greg – It occurs to me that a fascinating study would be to track the spiritual life of a person who has spent a good portion of that life living in a community like L’Abri – similar to what the documentarians who do the every seven years update films (most recent 49-up) tracking the lives of a group of British kids, beginning in 1964.

    Watching how life together changes and forms people over time could be an amazing tutorial for the greater body of Christ.

    Anyway, thanks for the empathy. My husband and I are currently attending church (d), which is coming apart under the weight of serious sin and compromise issues. We just started attending there late last summer, and are now looking at having to revisit choices (a), (b) or (c) for a church home.

    We want to be faithful to God, and know that community helps to shape that faithfulness. But it seems that community (and faithful, trustworthy leadership) is hard to find right now…

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Jes – I never erase comments. I LOVE `em! The more the merrier!

    As always, Bill will be glad to have you pick his brain for your project. The question is – will you be graduating? Did you get that all resolved with the various deans and records people?