I shared my annual report and vision for TFC in our next fiscal year. It was a powerful day though I'm going to explain that more in my next post.
But I wanted to post a bit of what I shared in the report. I've been gripped by Colossians 3:16-17 and I shared some out of that passage. I'm particularly gripped by the two words "each other."
And then I shared some general observations from the New Testament church.
Here's that list.
Don’t see (here or rest of NT)
- Entire congregations passively expecting a paid staff member to “feed them”
- Congregations expecting pastors to do all the caring and praying
- Parents abdicating the raising and Christian education of their kids to church staff or programs
- Individuals working to perpetuate the existence of an institution
- The majority of the church’s offerings staying in house
- Many full-time pastors (though pastors received some sort of financial compensation)
- Individualism of our western culture
Do see (here and throughout NT)
- Guidance of pastoral leadership – not in the institutional model as it exists now
- Church sharing meals whenever they get together
- Church members reading the scriptures and teaching each other (with pastors guiding)
- Church members taking care of each other when there was a need (not expecting pastor – all
- Offerings being given away to serve the poor
- People sharing with each other to meet needs
“If a beggar has a coat while a Christian has two, that Christian is a thief”
- The church functioning more like a family than a business
Just because we don’t see it (on list) doesn’t automatically make it wrong – though some of that is
We don’t have to do things exactly the way the NT church did them, churches adapt to their culture. But we've placed unbiblical expectations upon the church, especially in the area of programming and the discipleship of our kids. Thankfully, TFC is making some changes in that area, the first being a class taught by two parents in our church who are serious about discipling their kids, Noel and Dawn Forrester. Other parents, myself included have a lot to learn from Noel and Dawn's intentionality in teaching their kids scripture.
Church leaders, myself included have really messed up the church in teaching people it's a place to come to to receive "religious goods and services." The very fact that people ask, "what does your church offer shows that we've failed them as leaders.
But things are changing, thankfully. I've felt it in my gut and had thoughts in my head for years. I've just started reading Missional Renaissance and it's bringing into focus what I've been thinking. And the author, Reggie McNeal has been traveling the country and speaking and not surprised that unrelated people are saying the same things. McNeal observed, "we all have the same Source."