A place for random thoughts from the life of a follower of Jesus.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

If I Could Start a Church...

Here's a question for you: if you could start a church, what would it look like?
I've been doing lots of reading, thinking and praying about this question of late. We have been talking about developing "The Gathering Place West" for some time now. We always thought of it as being a church plant in the more traditional sense; that is, starting a new service in another location with the aim to reach more people and give more opportunity for ministry.
However, of late, thoughts have been turning to other avenues and approaches, hence my question. What DOES a church look like?
What constitutes a 'church service'?
Let me deal with some presuppositions here, those things that are non-negotiable:
1. any approach to church includes the understanding that we are absolutely committed to reaching people for Jesus.
2. community is important, in that we need to be connected to one another as followers of Jesus.
3. Jesus is the architect of the church - "I will build my church," he said. Whatever we do must be in step with Him and His leading.
You may think of some other things that you would consider 'non-negotiable'.
What I want is to hear from you on these things.
I'm changing the format of the blog for now. What I want it to be is a forum where we can exchange ideas, disagree with one another. It's not 'my' blog anymore. I want it to be 'our' blog, where we can communicate with one another and have some ongoing dialogue.
Shortly we will talk about meeting together in person to discuss these things further.
For now, I want to hear from you!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Blew a Gasket

I blew a gasket the other day. (Not mine, mind you. However, my wife will tell you that I do have a tendency to lose it a little every once in a while. She seems to sense it better than I do, and will tell me to go off somewhere for a while to cool off.)
The blown gasket is in our car. It's an intake manifold gasket to be exact. It turns out that the cost of the repair is more than the car is worth. As a result, we have been looking for another car. That is an experience in and of itself. We have been looking through the Lemonaid Guide, Consumer Reports and the internet.
Every car is rated differently. Some vehicles get a good rating, and others are panned. Then you read about individuals' reviews on different vehicles and you get more confused: some would never buy another one like it, while others can't say enough good about it.
I think sometimes we treat people that way; they're viewed as a commodity or product, and treated as such. That's not the way God views us. We are individual and unique creations, created by God to fulfill His purposes. That is going to look different for each one of us. We must not expect that everyone is like us or even should be like us. Neither do they have the same approaches, viewpoints or values. Still, each person is created by God and valuable.
I know I need a constant reminder to take the time to get to know the people around me, to treat them as individuals, as people!
Jesus said that a person is worth more than a sparrow, which is valuable in God's eyes. (Read the story here:http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2010:29-31;&version=65;) That means that God is concerned with our worth and well-being. That means that you and I need to be concerned with the well-being of those around us.
I know that you are of great worth!