my inner monologue...
site by Andrew Seely
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Here's my new project:
It might take me all year to read but I'm sure it's going to be worth it.
book Brothers+Karamazov Dostoevsky
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Today I was at the Via Vita conference in Westlake Village, CA
Here are my notes in raw form. Take them for what they are and if you have questions feel free to email me.
Dallas Willard - The Spiritual Realm as Jesus Knew It
Human condition as a search for how to live your life to the fullest potential. Not necessarily a spiritual condition but part of the human condition.
4 questions -
1) What is reality? What ultimately defines how we live our lives?
2) Who is well-off? Issues of prosperity.
3) Who is a really good person? Issues of value.
4) How does one become a really good person? Personal action to produce a desired result.
5) How do you know the answer to the above 4 questions?
These questions help define who we are and what we believe and how we interact with other people. These questions lend themselves to our worldview. These questions have varying answers depending on the culture and climate that we find ourselves in.
Where do our answers to these questions come from?
Spirituality as living an interaction with God. Spirit is personal, un-bodily power. Christian spirituality revolves around the fact that we cannot manipulate, it is something that we have no control over. For Jesus when we choose to manipulate power and spirituality then we enter into sin. Religion (in any form) always involves 2 things - a transcendence source and techniques for interacting with that source.
Help and identity and power are things that people desire from religious sources.
Jesus puts spirituality in perspective in terms that it is something that we do with our entire body - heart, mind, soul. His instruction is that we find ourselves within the character of God. We cannot personally create spirituality - spirituality is found in God. Jesus is someone who is capable of helping us to understand these issues.
Dallas Willard - The Soul and Its Transformation
When we begin to understand Jesus, we begin to see that his message can be the only way to answer life questions. God wants us to grow with the intention that he can enable us to do what we want to do. This also requires us during the growth process to grow to desire the things that God desires. When God wants to enable us, his hope is that our desires line up with his. Are we truly practicing what God teaches? God desires for us not only to listen to the teachings of Jesus but the idea of our soul being transformed is directly related to how we practice what we are taught. Jesus' message about living the kingdom of God is something that we can actualize instead of observe or wait for. We have to be active participants in the fact that God is doing things here and now. We retreat to nature and beauty because we are desiring to see God in action. The problem that arises in the fact that the kingdom is not something that is distant or coming but it is something that is present and available. God makes himself as available as possible to each and everyone of us.
Spiritual disciplines as practices. Jesus as example of how to put faith into practice - solitude, silence, scripture, prayer, fasting.
Notes about Dallas Willard: For me I didn't really hear anything that I hadn't really thought about before. I think that comes from my background in philosophy and theology. But I do admire his knowledge and insight into the character of God. It was nice to finally hear him lecture/speak. I think for many his insights will be new and something that they may have not thought about before. I really like his demeanor. The dry humor and quick quips. Great! Truly a great apologist for the faith and I do look forward to actually reading some of his work.
John Burke - God, Jesus and the World's Religions
Paul + Mars Hill Acts 17
Understanding God's presence in a world that finds itself spiritual but not sure of what is true, right or universal. How do we understand that God is near or present and that we can reach out and understand who he is, if we try? As people of faith we need to understand the idea of tolerance. When we can listen to other people's ideas and thoughts with an open mind. This does include the option to disagree with what is being said. The thought that tolerance leads to a wishy-washy understanding of truth is misguided. Being tolerant is something that we can practice without giving up our beliefs. Religion when entered into the conversation about tolerance can either be a preference or a truth. This leads to us wanting to know who God is and how we can interact with him.
"There is a common core of sound morality and prescriptive truth in all or most of the major religions." Adler, Truth in Religion
Tenets found in most of the world's religions:
1 Don't do harm to another human by what you do or say (the golden rule)
2 Honor your father and mother
3 Be kind towards brothers and sisters, children and the elderly
4 Do not have sex with another's spouse
5 Be honest in all of your dealings (don't steal)
6 Do not lie
7 Care for those weaker or less fortunate
8 Dying to self is the path to life
adapted from Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Instinctively we all are aware that there are problems, with ourselves and with the world, which leads to us understanding that we need help.
The question to all religions is: has God revealed himself to us?
"Only three religions claim to have a supernatural foundation to be found in a sacred scripture that purports to be a divine revelation…among the other religions...the truth they claim to have is of human, not divine, origin." Adler, Truth in Religion
The three are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
John stresses that we don't have it all figured out. Christians as a religion can be used for both good and bad. God's understanding is that he wants to interact with us through the world and is doing so.
Notes about Jon Burke: From his bio I understand where he is coming from in creating community that revolves around the idea that a church doesn't have to be perfect or that we as individuals don't have to (and can't) be perfect. John sees life as understanding, knowing and interacting with God on all levels. His theology spurs from a depraved stance of the world, with a redemptive nature coming from God alone. In his time I didn't hear much about an objective understanding of other religions in relation to Christianity. I heard (which isn't bad) that God is the center of it all and other religions (including Christianity) are and can be used by God for redemptive purposes. I love what Rob Bell has to say and I think it relates: "The point isn't Christianity, the point is being a follower of Jesus." I'm not sure if his point was to help people have a better understanding of world religions or if it was apologetics cloaked in a "world religions" format. Again like Dallas, I feel that I've heard this before and didn't really challenge me to think differently about God and his relation to those who put faith in other religions. I clearly acknowledge my elitism and tendency to think that I've not learned much. You may find more of that as you read the rest of the day. I think for me, personally I need to be challenged to interact with the world and how my faith relates to the people that surround me. Especially those who hold other religious beliefs.
John Ortberg - It's Morphing Time
Redefinition of terms. Jesus uses the phrase "you have heard it before, but let me say this to you."
Gospel - held view (summed up) - the minimal requirements to get to heaven, redefinition - mark 1:14-15, repent and believe the kingdom of God is at hand, it is possible to live in the power and presence of God now.
Kingdom - is what you choose to be, actually is.
Pray this: "god make up there (heaven) come down here (earth)"
To trust Jesus means that we first believe everything he says and then we do it.
How does this kingdom kind of life become realized in me? - It must take the need for human transformation as seriously as modern revolutions.
If we do not change/transform we are doomed not to fully realize the power and reality that is found in emulating Christ-like behavior.
People often settle for pseudo-transformation. When actual transformation is not possible/not achieved.
Boundary markers - things that determine identity within a certain group of people to distinguish those who fit in and those who don't.
When we use boundary markers to elevate ourselves in order to distance ourselves from others, we begin to move into pseudo-transformation which misses the point completely.
We should not let faith deteriorate into mere boundary markers, instead when we pursue genuine faith we find ourselves truly and authentically transformed and we grow and others see changes in us that is a direct result of transformation. Instead of us not transforming and merely setting up boundary markers for ourselves, therefore alienating those who do not exhibit those same markers.
Train - I arrange around those activities that enable me to do what I cannot now do by direct effort.
When we live our lives around the idea of training for a life of Christ we are enabling ourselves to begin to do things that we were incapable of doing/achieving prior to this point in time.
If we want joy and patience and a Christ life then we need to train for joy and patience and a Christ life. Training is a daily effort. We must align our lives around activities that allow us to be fully immersed in the training for life with Christ.
Spiritual disciplines are training for how to live out a life of Christ.
Notes on John Ortberg: I enjoyed his demeanor, very engaging, somewhat "traditional" yet presents progressive ideas about how we view faith and is not afraid to confront long held beliefs of the church and is willing to redefine them and challenge them. I like the coffee cup that is always in his hand as he speaks. Though I had hoped he would touch more on actual practices of spiritual living. I'm glad that Tony is speaking next as I know he is very practical and will be a good conclusion to this conference...if people will listen to what he has to say and not get caught up in the things that they find "controversial".
Ken LaMont - Universal Gift of Giving and Receiving
(The Spiritual Practice of Giving and Receiving)
Uses example of going to Mexico to demonstrate giving and realization of luxury that they live in at home in the States. He states that change occurs and that lives are started to be transformed and become enamored with the life of giving.
World traditions/religions have built into them a sense of giving and generosity.
Makes a case that we are engrained with in our human nature to give in some capacity.
Why should we give?
We need to give because we have been given to.
Giving in relation to building relationships with those who we give to.
When we think of giving we hesitate because we think about the lack of control of when we give.
We also hesitate to take/receive because it means that we have to proclaim our need and then to have the loss of control in what we get. Because we are receiving what is given, not taking what is asked for.
When we give money sometimes it is hard for people realize that time is also a resource, money is a convenient non-obligatory way of giving.
Talks about the fact that we as a society treat time as a commodity and that it is an acceptable offering/giving, as well as forgiveness and encouragement and skills and touch and smile.
Notes on Ken LaMont: Takes a stance in the idea of giving in relation to stats and stories of outcome. At this point I hope he talks more about developing life-long giving habits. Instead of just making a case for giving as a whole. Especially in letting us know that giving is something more than just loving God, it is part of an entire lifestyle. Has touched on it some in the example of his evaluation of giving one hundred 1 dollar bills instead of one 100 dollar bill. One of the ideas that I think about when I think about giving is the fact that it is my job to instill in others the idea of continual giving so I no longer have to constantly urge people to live up to the call to give. Here is where I see the failings of the "giving" message. Mexico, offerings and so many other things are good, but do they really inspire to live a lifestyle of giving, instead of producing people who give when they are asked to or hear a compelling argument or a specific need. Responding to dire need is one thing and I think it is a good thing, but how do we get people to live giving lives and then on top of a giving lifestyle give more when there is dire need? You can search my blog for posts about giving/money.
Tony Jones - Contemplative Spiritual Practices
Tony suggests that whenever people encounter Jesus, no matter what they say or do, their ultimate intention is "what do I need to do to be saved?"
When we understand the relationship of God as a three-head, Tony suggests that it revolves around the paraklesis - dance or being intertwined.
Tony tells of his personal journey into his research and development of The Sacred Way.
"The spiritual life is simply the increasing vitality and sway of God’s Spirit in us." - Marjorie Thompson
"The practice of the presence of God." - Brother Lawrence
"The goal of Christian spirituality is to be enlivened by God’s Spirit." - Tony Jones
I'm not really going to comment of the actual practices that Tony talks about. I'll just tell you to go buy the book. I use a lot of the things often if not almost daily. The Sacred Way by Tony Jones.
Tony Jones - Active Spiritual Practices
Notes on Tony Jones: I enjoy Tony much and dont know if I'll even take notes. I enjoy his company and look forward to meeting with him in the future.
via+vita Dallas+Willard John+Burke John+Ortberg Ken+LaMont Tony+Jones conference church emergent emgerging+church
Friday, February 24, 2006
I finally finished this book.
It took me a while, but it was well worth the time. Gibbs and Bolger give a thourough summary of the emerging church.
A full review to come later.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Friday, February 17, 2006
Sorry for the hobo-blogging this week.
I've been getting ready for "youth sunday" this sunday. Prayers that hearts would be touched would be appreciated.
hobo-blogger youth sunday prayer
Monday, February 13, 2006
click Trogdor to play
brought to you by audioblogger.com
audioblog audioblogger curious+george movie movie+review
Today is Monday Monkey Matinee day.
That means I am going to see Curious George immediately followed by King Kong. I will spend approximately 5+ hours at the movie theatre to see two movies about monkeys.
Let the Monday Monkey Matinee day begin!!!
movies Curious+George King+Kong monday double+feature
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Someone please explain why today in church I heard the name of the guy who was going to be the guest vocalist and entertainment for our valentines dinner mentioned more than the name of Jesus?
Mind you I was only really in church for about 30 min and most of that was worship and announcements. But I heard less about God and Jesus than I did about this guy and how wonderful he was and what a nice voice he had (which he does) and how much his music was supposed to help me focus on God.
Sorry...It wasn't worship...it was a concert.
I came to church today to worship my God. Not to hear some songs that maybe mention God, but was part of a concert, more of less.
I should have pumped Jesus Walks through the speakers. That has Jesus' name too.
As you can probably tell, I'm a bit upset and once again left without a place that feeds my spiritual needs and wants. God is more real in my backyard than he is during our "worship service".
< /vent >
church vent emerging+church emergent personal Andrew+Seely
Is evangelism dead?
I mean evangelism in the sense of crusades and Billy and standing on boxes in the streets?
If we are continuing to stress the importance of relationships and the necessity of allowing people to come to realize Christ instead of being asked to make a "decision" on the spot, does that mean that we need a new word or outlook on what it means to make "new" disciples of Christ?
With Billy soon to pass, (and what great work he has done) and tracts and rallies seeming to lose effectiveness, does this mean that we must re-invent/re-think what it means to draw people who don't profess faith into a communion with God?
In all my years of ministry I have yet to "convert" someone, in the sense that I talked to someone, (possibly) developed a relationship with them, then was there when they made a "decision" for Christ. That's not to say I haven't impacted many lives for Christ. But I've never been a part of an "evangelism" ministry.
I don't know and don't really want to know how many people have decided to follow Christ because of me.
I don't want to find myself saying things that point to a person and say I was responsible for their faith. I'm not responsible, God is.
I think one of the underlying themes in "evangelism" is that we become personally responsible for people's relationship with God. I saved this person, now I am responsible to make sure they grow in their faith. Or I saved this person, now let me find someone else to save.
I can remember a point in college (mind you it was a Christian college) where I seriously became envious that one of my friends said to me that they had just had a long conversation with someone and then that person accepted Christ.
I remember all that really did was make me feel like a failure that I hadn't done the same or didn't have anyone on my radar to "save".
Has "evangelism" come to the point where a person's relationship with Christ has taken a backseat to the actual moment of conversion or the pride that is expressed in the conversion itself?
Maybe it's just me. But when I think about people's relationships with God, I want to stress longevity and earnestness, not just a moment or a person who lead me to Christ. I might help someone discover how God has constantly been working in their life, but I want to keep the focus on God reaching down from space and time to be involved with that person's life at that moment and from then on. Not just getting someone to say the right words, have a cry and start coming to my church.
Is it time to kill the "evangelism" beast and start over when we talk about a relationship with God?
I don't know. Think about it. Question. Respond. Dialogue. (That's what the comments are for.)
emergent emerging+church church evangelism faith Christ
Saturday, February 11, 2006
I really want to know how much more this administration can get away with, like continuing to reveal information late and after the fact, lying, corruption, and who knows what elese we'll find out next week and still hold credibility in the eyes of people and congress.
Especially in light of Katrina timelines and budget cuts and the sale of national forests.
George+Bush republicans idiots incompetence George+Bush+idiot
Friday, February 10, 2006
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Tomorrow is going to be my favorite day of this week!!!
You know why???
It's the season finale (hopefully not the series finale) of Arrested Development.
Please please please ask a friend or two or a million to tune in for the 2 hour - 4 episode finale. I mean who wants to watch a bunch of people walk around in a circle in Italy.
Tune in on your Fox station at 8pm.
I have a crappy definition of success (see here).
Though I still wonder how we as a church are defining the state and health of our churches.
What are the criteria that we use to measure a successful church from a struggling church to a failing church?
Is it numbers (people)?
Is it the number of programs?
Is it the money?
Is it the prestige?
Is it the history?
Who knows? Maybe it's a combination of all of these.
Though I do want to talk about numbers for a while. Since it seems to me and many others that the definition of success for a church is (spoken and unspoken) largely tied into numbers (people).
How is it that we consistently promote programs and events that garner lack-luster attendance. Is this being good stewards of providing ministry opportunities to people? If our turnouts are ranging from 5% to 20% of our total congregations, isn't there something wrong with that?
I mean from a basic grading scale of 100%-90% = A 80-89% = B 70%-79% = C. Then aren't we consistently failing at the mission of the church? If that mission revolves around having people as active participants in the life of the church.
While I'll be the first to say that church isn't necessarily defined by programs and numbers. I still must consistently go back to the common mode of operation, since I do still work and live within such a context.
15% show up for "bible study"
40% show up for a potluck
2% show up for feeding the poor
70% show up for a "recognized" speaker
I think you get the point.
The question remains: If we as a church are really inspiring people to live active "christ-like" lives then shouldn't we see a commitment greater than "failing"?
This to me says something is wrong.
A friend pointed me to the statistic that in the Presbyterian Church (USA) we lose 86 members a day. That's one every 17 min!!!
I don't necessarily have a problem if a large group of people are not showing up at "church functions" because they are out somewhere else serving or ministering, but in my experience that is not the case.
Maybe it's just that the "percent" rule doesn't factor into church "success". Maybe we should adopt my attitude that I don't measure success.
I read scripture and it tells me that when our lives are changed due to the power of christ then things happen. Big things.
Big percents of people's lives now reflect a desire to follow christ.
I don't understand how we can live in a nation with so many people identifying themselves as "christians" and not see real-live faith acts being accomplished at a rate faster than we can document them. Why don't we see stories like this everyday? Why don't we see stories on the news about how people are amazed at how the church affects the community in positive ways?
I guess I'm just tired of seeing so much energy and effort pooled into projects that draw only a small proportion of people inside the church. And I really think the blame lies in not only the programs but also how and what we tell our members is important.
Is it more important to serve on a committee or to be out doing service?
Is it more important to go to bible study than do some bible living?
Is it more important to invite someone to church or to have a vibrant and consistent relationship with someone who doesn't know christ?
Is it more important to "fellowship" with other christians or to spend the majority of our time surrounded with non-christians?
Are we going to sit around and let the church define church and success?
Or are we going to be doing things that honor God and let him worry about the successfulness of the things we are doing?
I don't care if one person shows up, but as long as that one person then goes out and produces in multiples.
This is the root of success, allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by God and doing things that give overwhelming honor to God.
church emergent emerging+church success faith
I just finished Revolution by George Barna.
I picked it up yesterday and just couldn't put it down for more than 45min at a time. It's a short one.
I'll post some thoughts later. Most likely in some sort of collaborative post(s) with this guy.
book George+Barna review
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
I've come to the realization that I in large parts experience faith through other people. I look to books, leaders, friends, mentors, knowledge and 3rd parties for formation and devotion. I take ideas and thoughts and put them into practice, because I've seen them or heard them elsewhere.
Not to say that good does not come of these events. Yes, they deepen my walk, I gain insight, and learn from the experiences.
But probably more than I should.
I do not spend enough time in the word. I would rather read about someone else's insights from the word.
I do not spend enough time in prayer. I would rather hear about how someone else's prayer time has affected them.
I do not spend time in devoted time to the Lord. Be it worship or solitude. I can point to areas of my life where I find worship, but I am not disciplined about doing it on my own, free of other distractions.
In my quest to be spiritual, I often look to alternatives instead of seeking the truth myself.
I don't want to view Jesus through someone else's eyes.
I want to see him with my eyes.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. On me. A sinner.
Andrew+Seely faith personal church
I've been enjoying my pie that I got from Marie Callender's sat night. Only 5.99!!!! For a whole pie!!!
Mmmm...banana cream pie!!!
And I'm the only one eating it.
Check out my latest vlog.
Marie+Callender's pie vlog
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Today is the release of the Curious George soundtrack (featuring music by Jack Johnson. (a late b-day present to myself)
I'll be at Best Buy in a few hours to pick it up.
The movie comes out on Friday. I may be there Friday morning. Don't know if I want to look like the creepy guy at the movies with a bunch of little kids...we'll see.
In other news:
A few CD's got to my house today. (love the song Blower's Daughter)
Damien Rice's - O
and the In Good Company Soundtrack
I'm diggin them both!!!
I'm super excited to finally have the Iron & Wine song Trapeze Swinger (as heard in In Good Company, and only available on the soundtrack, hence the buy).
After being up all night (working on a new vlog, coming later this week) and then going to the gym and Jamba Juice for a little protien berry pizzazz I headed up to my Best Buy (porter ranch). Let me gripe a moment about my Best Buy.
Ok, I understand you did some rearranging of the merchandise around xmas time. I kinda feel ok about the new layout of the store. But please, oh please, if something is new then make it clearly visible for people to find. I would expect new music to be near the music section...pretty logical. Or new things to be near the front of the store so you see them as you walk in. (They did have the new Doom DVD at the front of the store, but who wants that?) Ok I'll give you credit that all the new DVDs and music were in a "what's new" section. But it was impossible to find. Who would look for new music near the rest of the DVDs where the new DVDs are??? COME ON!!!
So it' took me 3x as long to find the Curious George soundtrack than it should have. And I also caved in and bought the old Jason Mraz CD - Waiting for My Rocket to Come. But not after a bit of searching. I tried finding it under the spellings of M-I-R-A-Z and M-A-R-A-Z. Come on man use some vowels between the M and the R.
But the 3 songs that I listened to on the way home were GREAT!!! I know this is going to become one of my favorites really fast.
Now I just have to get an iPod to listen to all of my new music on. Though I just read THIS today. Maybe my tax return is going to be partially given to the apple store.
music Damien+Rice Jack+Johnson Curious+George Iron+&+Wine
length 5:07 (big file - caution dial-up users)
This is a short little film I shot and edited for church about our winter camp experience.
vlog hosting by
Andrew+Seely vlog vlog+2 winter+camp forest+home
Monday, February 06, 2006
Over the last few years I've really enjoyed trying the discipline of fasting for my lenten practice. I've really enjoyed the time and struggle it is to observe a fast from food. But after some consideration about how I actually "practice" my fasting, it seems to me that even though it is only for a season, that the fasting doesn't exactly doesn't accomplish everything that I want it to during the lenten time.
So when Lent starts this year (march 1 - april 15) I've decided to do two things. In hopes that in combination of NO ALCOHOL and REGULAR EXERCISE that the two will do more than the exercise that I'm doing now.
Hopefully Bill will be joining me in the workout portion. It's always good to have a workout buddy.
So there it is, my lenten commitment, I'll try and keep you updated with my progress. So stay tuned.
Thank goodness for Sundays...and maybe a beer.
lent lent+2006 Andrew+Seely
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Happy Blogiversary to me.
It's been a great 2 years. Thanks to all of you who have continued to read my ramblings and musings. I look forward to years to come here at andrewseely.com
blog Andrew+Seely blogiversary 2+years anniversary
Thursday, February 02, 2006
I think I've said this before here.
I'm tired of "Christian" bookstores.
They almost NEVER have what I am looking for. The prices aren't cheaper than amazon or barnes and noble.
Not to mention the "christian crap" they carry.
I want books about social action. Loving homosexuals. Starting churches. Progressive thinking. Books by Nouwen, Bonehoeffer, McLaren, Bell, Yaconelli. And the Message/NIV parallel, for crying out loud!!!
All I wanted was Barna's book Revolution.
Their computer said they had a copy but it was nowhere to be found. LAME!!!
note: The only reason I was there, instead of online was because I had a gift card.
books christian bookstore
What is ministry??
Is this a question we need to explore as we define who and what the church is for the postmodern culture?
When we do ministry, what exactly is it we are doing?
It may seem that "ministry" is a word we use often within the language of church to describe what people are doing. But by us using this word, have we watered it down to include things that maybe shouldn't be included when we talk about "ministry"?
Ministry seems to get attached to a lot of other words.
We have men's ministry, women's ministry, children's ministry, youth ministry, ministry to the homeless, music ministry, office ministry, committee ministry, service ministry, food ministries, prayer ministries, outreach ministries, evangelism ministries, welcome ministries, parking ministries and the list goes on and on.
Because the church does something or puts something on or is included within the life of the church, does that make it "ministry"?
I don't know if I have a good definition of ministry.
It's probably because I've never stopped to take the time to think about it. Or maybe it's just because I've always wanted to go into "ministry" and that included working at a church so I never really thought about it from a viewpoint of people who don't work full/part time at church.
I'm sure in whatever feeble attempt I try to define ministry, there will be aspects of everything listed above that we can point to, to say that ministry is being done.
I think ministry should involve service, relationships, honor towards Christ and his commands/mission. I think it involves people who desire to serve God and his church. I think ministry can be done by both the ordained and the lay. Ministry is something that benefits those who need guidance and support as well as building the body of christ, and even reaching out to those not part of the church who have needs.
Something doesn't quite sit right with me when we start to label things such as a "parking ministry" - ministry. Like I said above, within my definition, you can pull things that a "parking ministry" fulfils. But are we taking service, logistics and volunteers and making it into something more? Are we placing too much value on something that is a non-essential? Yes, it is nice to have your car directed to an open space in a crowded parking lot. But is this what Christ had in mind to be called ministry?
I don't know. Most of this post is to raise the question.
Is labeling anything a "ministry" a way for those in the church to feel included in "the overall ministry of the church"?
Is being part of the choir a ministry, or is it people who help facilitate worship?
I think part of the answer lies in how we approach each task. If we view our "ministry" as something we have to do, then does it cease to be ministry and become a mere task that we are performing for the church?
I think ministry requires us to develop lasting and healthy relationships with the people we are serving. It's quite easy to drop off clothes for a homeless ministry and never actually talk to the people who we are supporting. I still think this is good as there are many who need clothes, but I think what separates ministry from charity is the relationship and bond we are required to share with the people we minister to.
I think Jesus is a prime example of how ministry is to be done and what is to be considered a ministry. For example the large amounts of time he spent with individuals or small groups of people he "ministered" to. Not to mention the 12 who were his main focus of ministry.
While there was much "service" to others in Jesus' life, I think there were very intentional times of "ministry" to small groups of people.
I don't want to knock what people do for the church. I just want us to take some time to clearly define what "ministry" is. It may include some of both. I fully understand that most people don't have the time, the energy, the call to invest large portions or all of their lives to "ministry". But I do think it is time to be a bit more cautious of what we label as ministry and what we require of those who are serving in ministry capacities.
If we want to be churches that produce large quantities of ministers to go out into the world and make a difference, I think that ministry must not only move away from the church building but it also must mean that we as leaders must actively train people to be more than "good-doers", either for the church body or the community. There are many non-christian people who do good and serve. And if ministry is something more than mere service (even to a church or church members), then we must take this call seriously and not allow service to be confused with ministry.
I am still for the spiritual development of the congregation, but I think if we boil ministry down to serving primarily our congregations instead of serving the world, we will further alienate ourselves away from whom I think God is concerned with the most.
The church's responsibility is to train ministers with spiritual development so that once empowered they go into the world and minister to people. What I see as a trend is that we spirituality develop people to be reliant of the church and who continually come back because they do not feel ready to minister to the world, instead of desiring to step outside the confines of the church building with confidence that being a minister is not just being called pastor or working for the church.
If we truly believe in the preisthood of all believers, then shouldn't there be more of us who are called ministers, instead of the few leading the many, who think the ministry should be left to the pastor(s)?
It's time to take a hard look at how we train our congregations and the message we send to them when we tell them they are ministers, but continually offer spiritual development instead of honest, relation filled ministry opportunities.
Let us be ministers who are confident in our relation to Christ, even if we do not know much, and are empowered to be in relationships with those who have needs, both inside and outside of the congregation, and fully be involved in a lifestyle of ministry that gives all honor to God.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I got beat. Well not exactly since I didn't have the idea.
But my friend Kathryn has a great idea and a worthy cause.
millionby30.com (can be found permanetly under links on left)
Maybe I should start andrewsdebt.com
Anyone want to buy me a domain name and some web space to start my endevor??
Let my quarter life crisis officially begin!!!!!
Don't forget it's also Pauly Shore's birthday too!!!!