For the last few years I have been on a journey. It’s a journey that has cost me friendships. It’s a journey that has caused me to look pretty deep and it has caused me to evaluate my understanding of “church”. This week I had an epiphany. It’s both/and and not either/or.
You’re thinking ,“That’s pretty cryptic.”
You’re right. Let me clarify.
The journey that I have been on has been the journey from thinking of church as primarily a “come and see” to that of “go and tell.” As per usual I have taken the pendulum of my life and swung it from one end of the spectrum to the other.
I didn’t even notice.
Passion does that.
This week I met with a group of pastors from the area for a planning time. We were meeting to plan what our churches would do together as we participate in “E.A.C.H.”, a city-wide movement of churches that are seeking to give “everyone a chance to hear” during the first forty days after Easter. We prayed and it was amazing.
Then we started talking.
Fairly quickly the debate began: proclamation OR service. The battle lines were drawn. The combatants were unwilling to budge. Then an image I used for many years with Campus Crusade for Christ (and I had used in a recent worship service) popped into my mind:
Now, what struck me was that I had forgotten something that had been drilled into me for ten years on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. A simple truth that brought clarity to my journey:
There are three relational modes: Ministry, Body, Natural.
I want to quote Keith Davy at length here:
As God works through believers in seeking to save the lost, there are three different types of relationships, or relational modes. These modes of witness are delineated by the nature of the relationship between the believer(s) and the unbelievers. God always seeks to work through our witness as a body, through our natural relationships, and through the relationships that result from intentional ministry outreach. A ministry’s evangelistic impact is increased as it expands the influence of each relational mode. Evangelistic momentum is achieved as synergy is generated between all three modes. Understanding these modes will enable us to align our methods with God’s work more effectively and expand the impact of each mode more fully.
We must have all three. I am not suggesting that we go back to a model of church that is driven by programs and that everything is done within the four spiritual walls of the building. What I am saying is that there must be strategic placement of all three modes in the life of any congregation and in the life of the church as a whole.
It’s coming together. The journey is still long and I am sure there will be many twists and turns along the way, but this is a significant piece that has come together.
Maybe I should take another look at some of those other models that I used to make fun of? I suppose I should.