December 5, 2006

Conversations with a Future Church Planter pt. 7

Here is another installment of Conversations with a Future Church Planter. If you need to catch up Here is the rest of the series.

My Friend responded:

...Whenever I get caught up taking a side, I need a balanced approach to some of these silly arguments. Multi-site is a reality of 21st century church whether or not I like it. To me it represents further erosion of the Church’s foremost strengths in the world… but I’m in the minority… and besides, undoubtedly, many good fruits are coming about due to this re-interpretation of the times. I’ll try to keep that in mind...

Then I responded:

I was just sitting here, reading Pour Your Heart into It by Howard Schultz and watching the Seattle vs. Green Bay game and thought about our conversation. (Maybe it's the whole Seattle/Starbucks theme.)

Anyway, I got to thinking about this conversation. When I left seminary, I left with a very bad habit. That habit was to critique everything. I would evaluate its theology, its liturgy, its whatever. Seminary seems to force us into the role of critic. This is not always good.

You know me well enough to know that I am very concerned with orthodoxy as well as orthopraxy. But too often, like many postmodernists, we define ourselves by what we are not. Everything has something of value to teach us; whether good or bad. And, not everything is completely good or completely bad.

I think there is a sense in which we need to critique something, but there is more of a need for us to evaluate and learn and then incorporate what we have learned into what we are called to do. If we waste energy criticizing something we are not spending that energy on accomplishing something.

Here are some questions we should probably ponder: What does the success of the multi-site teach us? What are some things, even if we do no do multi-site ministry, we can use from multi-site in our own ministry?

I think it teaches us that people want quality, but they still want small. I think it teaches us that much of the problem with church is the "culture" of the church and not the "ministries" or maybe even style (although these have something to do with the culture of the church). I think we see that people want to actually learn something from the Bible that they can apply to their lives. While Northpoint and Andy Stanley seem to be the target of much criticism for their multi-site, Andy's books are invaluable ministry tools. I recommend 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, Communicating for a Change (one of the best books on preaching style I have read), and Visioneering.

Why is Starbucks so successful? It is because of the culture. Every other coffee shop, like it or not, is inspired by and owes much gratitude to Starbucks for bringing quality coffee to the United States. If it weren't for Starbucks most of us would still be drinking that swill they call Folger's.

What do you think?

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