Windows 8 is coming out. I couldn’t possibly care less, being a Mac person, but Iistening to Kim Komando a few weeks ago, I learned something about the way Windows OS updates have typically been created: by adding on to what has already been built. That is supposedly less true about Windows 8, but previous updates of the Windows OS have been add-on’s to pre-existing framework.
It occurred to me that this same problem exists in many churches, especially in the deep fried south. We tend to love the institutions and programs we create, so much so that when the need for restructuring or “upgrading” comes, we bend over backwards to build on to our existing framework. The result in the church is the same with Windows OS: frequent “crashes” and nagging “bugs” that lead to increased dissatisfaction and less productivity.
Perhaps one of the ways that a church with treasured (and presumably effective) ministry programs can “upgrade” is by emphasizing missional Christian living … to accentuate the call of BEING the church rather than COMING to church. In their book, “Everyday Church,” Tim Chester and Steve Timmis give simple yet powerful suggestions for such living (adaptable to most any church situation). Here are four (page 106-107).
- Eat with non-Christians. Make a habit of sharing a few meals each week with non-Christians (how easy is this at work or school?!).
- Be a regular. Go to the same places for gas, groceries, dining, coffee, etc., and build relationships with the employees and other frequent customers over time.
- Volunteer at non-profits in your community. Why should churches start competing ministries when they infiltrate existing efforts with the Gospel?
- Hobby with non-Christians. The tendency for Christians is to start Christian versions of things the world does so that Christians have a comfortable place to invite their lost friends to. Missional ministry takes the opposite approach: the Christian seeks a place where non-Christians are comfortable and lives as Light in their midst.
Where people gather for church, programmatic ministries are necessary. An infrastructure will always be required. By emphasizing missional living, church leaders reduce the amount of “adding on” and increases its influence for the Gospel in its community.